Home » Posts tagged 'victim-centered approach'

Tag Archives: victim-centered approach

After trafficking. The (re)integration needs and experiences of trafficked children.

Regular contributor Rebecca Surtees from the NEXUS Institute is back this week. This post focuses on one of the findings identified in “After Trafficking. Experiences and challenges in the (re)integration of trafficked persons in the GMS”, a regional study of (re)integration in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS). The research study was commissioned by the six COMMIT governments as part of the 2nd and 3rd COMMIT Sub-regional Plan of Action (2008-2010 and 2011-2013). The study, conducted by NEXUS Institute, analysed the effectiveness of (re)integration processes and structures from the point of view of trafficked persons and the service providers that support them, uncovering whether and to what extent services currently offered to trafficking victims and their families are meeting their (re)integration needs, including any unmet assistance needs. The study was coordinated by the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking (UNIAP) and was overseen by a Regional Working Group comprised of Save the Children UK, World Vision International, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), NEXUS Institute and UNIAP. 

This study was based on in-depth interviews with 252 trafficked persons from all six countries in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) about their experiences of (re)integration, including successes and challenges, as well as future plans and aspirations. The study included persons who had been identified and assisted, as well as those who were not identified and/or did not receive assistance. Understanding the diverse and complex post-trafficking trajectories sheds light on a wide range of issues and dynamics at play in the (re)integration processes in the GMS. It also highlights both the strengths and weaknesses of existing (re)integration mechanisms and processes. (more…)

Middlemen

A key component of human trafficking, recruitment often involves labor and migration brokers, with varying levels of complicity, in the process of exploitation. Recruitment practices for low-wage migrant workers may increase the risk for exploitation as a result of the costs incurred to the worker. Recruiters and agents themselves may be abusive. Moreover, the recruitment experiences of workers pre-migration can be linked to vulnerability to exploitation not only during employment, but also in the process of repatriation. In Singapore, the repatriation process itself can be forced and abusive, exacerbating individual risk by enabling employers to deport workers without pay or compensation for injury. (more…)

Just deserts: victim compensation

Despite ample international, regional and local provisions for compensation, the provision of restitution for trafficked persons remains under-utilized. This undermines justice as well as potentially depriving much-needed financing for anti-trafficking efforts. A State’s focus on criminal prosecution may neglect important aspects of a victim-centered approach and without stringent, enforced penalties, may not even serve as an adequate deterrent. The former might include an emphasis on a victim as a key witness at trial, without taking into account livelihood concerns involved in an individual’s ability to participate (not being to generate an income, for instance). The latter may be expressed through the limited impact of the use of fines as punishment for those convicted for forced labor offences. For example, Paul Broadbent, Chief Executive of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) in the UK, highlighted:

We’d worked out the amount of money they’d made out of exploiting those people was way in excess of that fine […] so it’s actually worthwhile doing it on the off chance you’ll get caught, because when you do get caught and fined it’s absolutely a drop in the ocean compared with the money you’ve made. (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…)

Spellbound: witchcraft and human trafficking

At the end of October 2012, Osezua Osolase was found guilty of five counts of trafficking, one count of rape and one count of sexual activity with a child.  What made this case significant was the use of ‘juju’ rituals or witchcraft as a method of controlling his victims, one of whom was only 14 years old.  Though it received sizeable media attention, the Osolase case was not the first of its kind in the UK.  For example, in July 2011 another man, Anthony Harrison, was also found guilty of trafficking young Nigerian girls into the UK for the purposes of sexual exploitation and similarly used witchcraft.

So what is ‘juju’? Why is it such an effective coercive tool in the facilitation of trafficking? Is the perverted use of this West African religious/cultural practice inherently any different from other methods of control used by traffickers? Is it Euro-centrically arrogant to focus on this method of coercion –reinforcing a salacious obsession with the ‘dark heart of Africa’?

The Collins Dictionary states that the word ‘juju’ probably originates from the Hausa word djudju – meaning evil spirit – and defines ‘juju’ as:

an object superstitiously revered by certain W African peoples and used as a charm or fetish; the power associated with a juju; a taboo effected by juju; any process in which a mystery is exploited to confuse people.

The use of ‘juju’ in trafficking takes a range of forms and is most common in the trafficking of victims from West Africa, particularly Nigeria, into Europe.  According to The Independent:

There are 100,000 trafficked Nigerians in Europe, and 80 per cent come from Edo – a southern state that is home to only three per cent of Nigeria’s population. It is the trafficking capital of Africa, and home of the traditional West African religion they call juju. (more…)