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Tag Archives: UK

Economized: working towards the lowest common denominator

TTRP has been focusing on the impact of the financial crisis on employment and exploitation in the UK.  We have looked at its effect on young people obliged to take unpaid internships in the face of a rising inability to access the labour market and at the Government’s attempts to get those in receipt of job seekers allowance to take on unpaid work as a method of retaining this unemployment benefit.  The pressure on poorly paid workers in the UK is steadily increasing through a combination of a “race to the bottom” by businesses to reduce costs and the need by Government to reduce public spending.

For example, one approach has been to reduce public sector employment as the Institute for Fiscal Studies highlights, “The overall level of public sector employment fell by about 300,000, or 5%, between 2010 and 2012…” The National Health Service (NHS) has been particularly badly hit with 50,000 jobs to be cut between 2011-2015; research showed that “nearly every [NHS] trust in the country admitted that they planned to shed staff over the next four years, with some losing up to one in five employees”.  The impact of these cuts was examined in a recent report by Oxfam, which found that half a million people in the UK are now reliant on food banks.  The authors commented

Some of the increase in the number of people using food banks is caused by unemployment, increasing levels of underemployment, low and falling income, and rising food and fuel prices. The National Minimum Wage and benefits levels need to rise in line with inflation, in order to ensure that families retain the ability to live with dignity and can afford to feed and clothe themselves and stay warm. (more…)

Extended misery: punishing victims

April proved to be a trying month for the UK Government’s relationship with Europe on the issue of human trafficking.  The deadline for the implementation of Directive 2011/36/EU on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims was in mid-April and, as organisations such as ECPAT have been advocating, the Government is continuing to fail to put in place adequate measures to protect victims of trafficking from prosecution.  The Directive establishes minimum rules concerning the definition of criminal offences and sanctions in human trafficking and seeks to improve the protection of victims.  An examination of recent cases before the Court of Appeal have shown that implicit in the UK’s approach to this issue is the fact that victims are not being identified at an early enough stage in the criminal justice process. (more…)

Exploiting age: the risk of ignoring agency

In the shadow of recent child exploitation cases in the UK, policymakers have turned their attention to a spate of issues affecting vulnerable children, as Jeni Page highlighted in her post on children residing in state care homes. In conjunction, violence and exploitation experienced by teenagers is becoming more visible. Consideration has been given to an expanded definition of domestic violence, which now includes teenagers, in recognition of the types of partner violence they face, as well as the failings of the child protection system to older children. Recently, a High Court ruling, in HC (A Child,), R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department & Anor [2013] EWHC 982 (Admin) (25 April 2013) addressed the practice of treating 17-year-old child suspects as adults in police stations. It also addressed the refusal by the Secretary of State to amend the relevant Police Code that enabled this treatment, despite the fact that such treatment is inconsistent with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and s.11 of the Children Act 2004, which recognizes the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of those under 18.

Violence tends to be categorically experienced by children or adults, lacking an examination of the continuity of the experience of violence across age. But the problems of vulnerable children are not always clearly demarcated by age or type of abuse, complicating risk management and protection. Tension exists in distinguishing between children and adults, especially as this relates to their roles as victims and perpetrators. For instance, regarding the child protection system, the Education Select Committee reported, “childcare professionals needed to understand that a teenager could be a vulnerable ‘child in need’ just as much as a young child.” And, in recognizing the disconnect between child protection and immigration policies, “trafficked children found in criminal settings must always be treated as victims and children first, and not just as criminals”. (more…)

Non-English speakers need not apply

Detective Chief Inspector Nick Sumner from the London Metropolitan Police spoke recently at a Home Office conference on labour exploitation and UK industry about a case in which he had achieved a recent prosecution. A Romanian man with mental health issues ended up in hospital as a result of the abuse suffered during his exploitation. However, the circumstances regarding his abusive treatment were not revealed to the medical professionals treating him as his exploiters accompanied him to hospital and were acting as his interpreters. When he was eventually found by a police officer, sometime later, wandering the streets after escaping the house where he was kept, she was unable to communicate with him. It was only upon contact with the Romanian embassy that the full extent of his experience became clearer. Worryingly, it was only at this point that the police became aware that a young girl was still in the house and had been horrifically exploited for several years. This scenario serves as an example in which language functions as an inhibitor to ‘rescue’ and perpetuated a method of control over victims. (more…)

Caste-based discrimination and trafficking

TTRP are excited to present a jointly authored post with Meena Varma, Director of the Dalit Solidarity Network UK, which campaigns against the atrocities, humiliation and poverty that over 260 million Dalits suffer due to caste discrimination and seeks ‘A world without caste discrimination’.

Inequality is at the core of the Caste System. The assignment of basic rights among various castes is unequal and hierarchical as the system is hereditary and maintained through the rigid enforcement of social ostracism (a system of social, physical and economic penalties) in the case of any deviations. Caste-affected communities do not use one single term to describe themselves. The terms used vary from country to country across the world. The International Dalit Solidarity Network uses the term Dalit to refer to caste-affected members also known as ‘untouchables’ and/or Scheduled Castes, and members of other communities affected by similar forms of discrimination such as those inherited from their parents or based on their work. (more…)