Press Statements

Sunday 18th October 2015

Anti-Slavery Day 2015

Today, October 18th marks Anti-Slavery Day for the fifth consecutive year in the UK. Anti-Slavery Day was established by an Act of Parliament, instigated by the Human Trafficking Foundation’s Chairman former MP Anthony Steen. Mr Steen said, “Anti-Slavery Day every year provides the opportunity to remind us that slavery, unfortunately, still exists in this country”.

Dozens of events have been organised around the country to mark Anti-Slavery Day, helping to raise awareness and funds for the vital work ongoing throughout the country. These events range from theatre productions and lectures, to film screenings and football tournaments. For a full list of events and activities and how you can get involved, visit www.antislaveryday.com

Anti-Slavery Day also offers an opportunity to pay tribute to the wonderful work which is done throughout the year to tackle human trafficking and modern slavery. To this end, the Human Trafficking Foundation hosted the Anti-Slavery Day Media Awards at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to celebrate the contribution made by those working in the media, theatre and film and television industries. You can find out more about the awards here.

Kevin Hyland, the UK’s first Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, has launched his strategy for the next two years to coincide with Anti-Slavery Day, detailing how he will tackle modern slavery and human trafficking. In his strategy, the Commissioner makes clear that his immediate aims are twofold:

‘to see an increase in the numbers of victims of modern slavery that are identified and referred for appropriate support; and, in tandem, to see an increase in the numbers of prosecutions and convictions of traffickers and slave masters.’

The Human Trafficking Foundation welcomes the publication of the Commissioner’s strategy and is delighted that Baroness Butler-Sloss, our trustee, and Tatiana Jardan, our Director, are members of his Advisory Panel. Read the full strategic plan here.

It is estimated by the Global Slavery Index that approximately 36 million people are held in conditions of slavery globally today. The Home Office estimates that there are 13,000 people enslaved in the UK. These people are exploited in numerous ways, from being forced to work in brothels, factories, farms and fishing boats, to growing cannabis and even harvesting organs.  This international trade in human beings, it is estimated by the ILO to earn traffickers approximately $150m annually.

 

 

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Friday 16th October 2015

WINNERS OF ANTI-SLAVERY DAY MEDIA AWARDS 2015 ANNOUNCED

The winners of the Anti-Slavery Day Media Awards 2015 were announced at the Locarno Suite of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on the evening of Thursday 15 October. The annual ceremony pays tribute to the work of those in the media who have highlighted the nature and prevalence of modern slavery in the UK.

The Home Secretary, Rt Hon Theresa May MP, presented the awards to the winners (full list below), and commended them for their outstanding contribution to raising awareness of modern slavery in the UK.

Home Secretary Theresa May said:

“The journalists and campaigners recognised through these awards have given a voice to the victims of this despicable crime and through their work have helped to raise awareness about this important issue.

“The presence of modern slavery in today's society is an affront to the dignity and humanity of every one of us. We all need to stand up together to show victims that they are not alone, and to target today's slave drivers.”

Organised for the fifth consecutive year by the Human Trafficking Foundation jointly with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery, the Anti-Slavery Day Media Award reception brought together 200 guests, including MPs and Peers, as well as journalists, police, representatives from various local authorities and NGOs.

Anthony Steen, founder and Chairman of the Human Trafficking Foundation, said:

“Anti-Slavery Day every year provides the opportunity to remind us that slavery, unfortunately, still exists in this country. The awards presented this evening go to all those involved in media, theatre and the film and television industry who have helped the fight against modern day slavery over the last year. There were nearly 40 nominations for the 6 award categories and 8 winners announced. A further 3 awards for outstanding contribution to the fight against modern slavery were awarded by the Marsh Christian Trust.”

The Media Awards form part of a programme of events held around the UK throughout October to mark Anti-Slavery Day – enshrined in law by Act of Parliament and held annually on 18 October to raise awareness of human trafficking and modern-day slavery. There is a wide variety of events, including talks, seminars, arts shows and film screenings, scheduled to take place across the country to mark the occasion (visit www.antislaveryday.com for further information.

 

List of Human Trafficking Foundation Media Awards winners 2015

 

Best TV or Radio Documentary Dealing with Modern Slavery

‘Dispatches: Escape from ISIS’, Edward Watts, Channel 4

‘Britain’s Legal Slaves’, John Waite and Sarah Shebbeare, BBC Radio 4

 

Best broadcast/press news piece dealing with Modern Slavery

‘Just how badly does the UK protect victims of trafficking?’, Jenny McCall, Open Democracy

 

Best Investigative Article or Broadcast News Dealing with Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation

‘When a Bride-to-Be is a Bride to Buy’, Ira Trivedi, Foreign Affairs

 

Best Investigative Article or Broadcast News Dealing with Child Trafficking

‘3,000 children enslaved in Britain after being trafficked from Vietnam’, Annie Kelly and Mei-Ling McNamara, The Guardian

 

Best Investigative Article or Broadcast News Dealing with Forced Labour and Domestic Servitude

‘Lithuanian migrants trafficked to UK egg farms sue “worst gangmaster ever”’, Felicity Lawrence, The Guardian

 

Best Stage or Film Production Dealing with Modern Slavery

‘This is My Body’, Martin O’Brien

 

‘Yoke Farm’, Tim Keeling

 

Marsh Christian Trust Award 2015 For Outstanding Contribution to the Fight against Modern Slavery

Rachel Witkin, Helen Bamber Foundation

Professor Gary Craig, Durham University and Wilberforce Institute, University of Hull

Bronagh Andrew, TARA, Community Safety Glasgow

 

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Friday 31st July 2015

Modern Slavery Act comes into Force

Today, the first group of legal provisions from the Modern Slavery Act (2015) come into force. The Human Trafficking Foundation, which played a pivotal part in the discussions around the Bill, welcomes the commencement of this important piece of legislation. However, the Foundation also recognises that the practical implementation of the Act, and monitoring of its outcomes, is vital. 

The following provisions will come into force on 31 July 2015:

1.       The consolidation of slavery and human trafficking offences into one Act with a maximum life sentence (sections 1-6).

2.       Ensuring the main offences are criminal lifestyle offences for the purposes of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (section 7).

3.       Slavery and Trafficking Reparation Orders, which provide powers for the courts to use seized assets to compensate victims (sections 8-10).

4.       Provisions for law enforcement and the courts to detain and forfeit vehicles, ships etc involved in human trafficking (sections 11-12).

5.       Slavery and Trafficking Prevention Orders and Slavery and Trafficking Risk Orders (sections 14-34), which provide new tools to prevent the harm caused by slavery and trafficking offences.

6.       Placing the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner on a statutory footing (sections 40-44). The Home Secretary appointed the designate Commissioner, Mr Kevin Hyland, in November 2014.

7.       The statutory defence for victims (section 45), which strengthens protections against inappropriate prosecution of victims of slavery and trafficking for crimes committed as part of their exploitation.

8.       Special measures for witnesses (section 46), which ensure that victims in slavery cases have the benefit of special measures in court in the same way as already applies in human trafficking cases.

9.       Access to civil legal aid for slavery victims (section 47). Victims of human trafficking who have received a positive Reasonable Grounds decision as part of the National Referral Mechanism already have access to civil legal aid. In line with the change to the National Referral Mechanism to identify victims of slavery and trafficking; this provision extends civil legal aid access to victims of slavery.

Tatiana Jardan, Director of the Foundation, said: “The Foundation is pleased that such important provisions from the Act are finally able to commence. However, we must not lose sight of the work that is still left to be done; Government, Local Authorities, Police and the anti-trafficking sector must all continue to work together to ensure that survivors receive the level of support and protection they need and deserve.”

ENDS

Note to Editors

1.       The full text of the Modern Slavery Act (2015) can be found here: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/30/contents/enacted.

 

Monday 13th July 2015

Report Reveals Modern Slavery Survivors ‘Abandoned’ by Public Authorities

On Monday 13th July, the Human Trafficking Foundation will launch a report that reveals “Life Beyond the Safe House for Survivors of Modern Slavery in London”.  The report brings some disturbing evidence as to what happens to survivors of modern slavery after they leave safe houses in London and are left to an unknown future.

Currently there is no clear picture as to what happens to survivors of modern slavery once they are discovered in the UK. Some disappear immediately, whilst others agree to enter the Government scheme for identification, referral and support – the ‘National Referral Mechanism’. However, no one knows what follows after these vulnerable adults leave the initial Government funded accommodation, known as the ‘reflection period’. The Home Office acknowledges that there is no obligation in the Government contract to monitor the outcomes for people who have received such support; either where they go or what they do to support themselves when the Government duty of care ends.

In 2014 the Human Trafficking Foundation set out to look at what could be done to change the current system which, in effect, allows survivors to ‘disappear’, with no authority or individual allocated responsibility for their future safety and welfare. Whilst conducting the research the Foundation heard many distressing stories about the difficulties faced by vulnerable adults in obtaining access to even the most rudimentary support. Although they have escaped from their traffickers, have been rescued and placed in a short-term safe environment, the majority of these survivors lose any further engagement with the statutory services. This puts them at high risk of being drawn back into exploitative or abusive situations. Many professionals believe that the survivors they come into contact with are at risk of further harm and re-trafficking because of their high vulnerability.

The Foundation is calling for urgent action from Central Government and Local Authorities to remedy this issue. Appropriate measures need to be introduced to ensure consistent and coherent move-on and ‘post safe house’ support across the UK. 

Tatiana Jardan, Director of the Human Trafficking Foundation, said:

“We believe that if no effective strategy is put in place to prevent re-victimisation by ensuring long-term support to survivors of modern slavery, the cycle of abuse and exploitation of vulnerable people may continue unabated.”

This report was supported by the City of London Corporation’s charity, City Bridge Trust. It would not have been possible without the participation of all the survivors, who bravely spoke about their experiences and professionals who provided their unwavering support.

ENDS

Note to Editors:

 

1. See full report here  Web_Life Beyond the Safe House.pdf

Monday 15th June 2015

Launch of the Trafficking Survivor Care Standards

The Human Trafficking Foundation is delighted to announce the official public launch of the ‘Trafficking Survivor Care Standards’, which aim to provide a blueprint for UK-wide service providers offering high quality care to adult survivors of modern slavery, including trafficking.

These standards are the result of a collaborative Expert Working Group, formed of front-line practitioners who came together in recognition of a need to develop survivor care standards applicable across the UK. The Expert Group included the following member organisations: Ashiana (Sheffield), BAWSO (Wales), City Hearts (Northern England), Counter Human Trafficking Bureau (London), Helen Bamber Foundation (London), Hestia (London), Housing for Women (London), Human Trafficking Foundation (UK), Medaille Trust (UK), Poppy Project (London), The Salvation Army (UK), Community Safety Glasgow – TARA Service (Scotland), Unseen (Bristol).

The Trafficking Survivor Care Standards provide a flexible framework with guiding principles and practical recommendations that support agencies can incorporate into their own existing policies and procedures. The ultimate goal is to promote an integrated, holistic and empowering approach that places the real needs of survivors at the centre of the process of sustained recovery, far beyond the ‘reflection period’.

The Care Standards are officially endorsed by the UK’s first independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Kevin Hyland OBE who will speak at the launch.  He has provided a foreword for the Standards and has issued this statement:

“I am committed to ensuring that survivors receive the care and support they need to rebuild their lives. The guidelines laid out in this document provide clear navigation of the pathways that can be followed to ensure that every survivor across the UK will receive consistently high quality levels of support.  I look forward to working with the Foundation to ensure that these recommendations are adopted and implemented across the country.”

Tatiana Jardan, Director of the Human Trafficking Foundation, said:

“We believe that establishing care standards is the first step towards ensuring consistent protection and high quality support for all trafficking survivors. However, the vital second step is implementation. We are delighted to have the full support of a number of front-line organisations, as well as the Anti-Slavery Commissioner, to ensure that, ultimately, survivors feel protected and better assisted.”

ENDS

Note to Editors:

1.       For further information, or to get a copy of the Standards, please contact Tatiana Jardan at tatiana@humantraffickingfoundation.org

2.       Trafficking Survivor Care Standards Online: http://www.humantraffickingfoundation.org/trafficking-survivor-care-standards

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ANTHONY STEEN RECOGNISED BY QUEEN IN BIRTHDAY HONOURS LIST

The Human Trafficking Foundation welcomes the recognition of Anthony Steen CBE for his outstanding contribution in fighting modern day slavery.

Mr Steen, Conservative MP 1974-2010, set up the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery in 2006 with Rt Hon Clare Short and Rt Hon Lady Butler-Sloss to raise awareness initially of the plight of trafficked women and children in Britain. This resulted in growing awareness across the country of the extent of the problem. In 2010 he piloted a Private Members’ Bill through Parliament, making October, 18th each year Anti-Slavery Day and established the Human Trafficking Foundation, which he now chairs.

In 2012 the European Commission backed the Foundation’s efforts to persuade other Member State Parliaments to work together to fight this growing scourge. This has resulted in over 100 MPs from 16 Member State Parliaments involved in highlighting the growing problem of modern day slavery in their country. Mr Steen became the Home Secretary’s Special Envoy in 2014 to advise her what the government could do and the outline of the Modern Slavery Act followed. Anthony Steen said: “Modern day slavery is a scourge in our society. Human beings are treated as a commodities with modern day slavery as the second largest criminal activity in the world. Although I am, of course, delighted by this honour recognising my work in fighting modern day slavery, this is an honour which must be shared with the civil society, NGOs, voluntary organisations and church groups who have been such a support to me over the years and helped me to raise awareness.”

Rt Hon Sir John Randall, former MP for Uxbridge and Government Deputy Chief Whip said: “Anthony has shone a powerful light on the horror and extent of modern day slavery. He has driven it up the political agenda resulting in a huge increase of public awareness.”

Rt Hon Baroness Butler-Sloss: “Mr Steen’s commitment played a principal part in persuading government to introduce the Modern Slavery Act. This is now Law. We all owe him a huge debt of gratitude.”

ENDS

Note to Editors: 1. For further information please contact Emma Wade at emma@humantraffickingfoundation.org, or on Tel: 01923 810 100

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Modern Slavery Act 2015

The Human Trafficking Foundation welcomes the Modern Slavery Act, which received Royal Assent on Thursday 26th March 2015.

Following a final ‘Ping Pong’ debate in the House of Lords on Wednesday the 25th March, members voted through the Bill in the last 24 hours of this Parliament. Symbolically, Wednesday was the internationally recognised UN Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, and offered a poignant opportunity to honour and remember all those who have suffered and died at the hands of the brutal slavery system. 

After years of dedication to this issue from the Foundation’s Chairman, its outstanding board of trustees, and loyal members of staff, we are delighted that Britain has taken such a momentous step towards tackling this heinous crime.

HTF Vice-Chairmen, Baroness Butler-Sloss and Rt Hon Frank Field MP, and trustee Rt Hon Sir John Randall MP, were the original members of a working party, set up at the request of the Home Secretary, to gather evidence for a Bill review. The final report in December 2013 resulted in the first draft Modern Slavery Bill.

HTF Vice-Chairman, Baroness Butler-Sloss said of the evolution of the legislation to this point:

“There have been so many changes to the Bill that the current version is almost unrecognisable from the first draft given by the Government. The Government are greatly to be congratulated on listening to all parties and introducing key measures in the Bill which will have a significant impact: for victims, and for those fighting this crime. This historic moment could not have been possible without the unwavering commitment of the Home Secretary and Minister for Modern Slavery, and their Home Office team.”

The Act contains provisions for child advocates; a defence for victims and protection in court; the existence of an Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner; and a transparency of supply chains clause – a world first. The last 18 months have been crucial for anti-trafficking groups lobbying for improved measures in the Bill. The concerted effort of the Foundation’s Advisory Forum members has resulted in the inclusion of many vital clauses which now form integral parts of the Bill. Collectively, we can be very proud of what we have done to make this Bill a good Bill.

However, the Foundation recognises that the Act is not perfect; this is only the beginning. Tatiana Jardan, Director of the Human Trafficking Foundation said:

“We now look forward to many more years of hard work. There are gaps in the legislation, and those gaps can and should be filled under the next Government. Strategy and policy issues also need to be addressed and improved—but again that is for the next Government. What is perhaps of supreme importance right now is that we have the framework of an Act as part of the law of England and Wales, and that is absolutely crucial.”

You can see the final version of the Bill, as enacted, by clicking here

ENDS

For further information please contact Tatiana Jardan at tatiana@humantraffickingfoundation.org

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207 year wait for a new Bill on slavery

At the Head Office of Europe’s largest lorry manufacturer, IVECO, the Chairman of the Human Trafficking Foundation spoke to interested workers on the challenge of the new legislation promised for the Queen’s Speech, and the dangers of it just proving a ‘damp squib’.

Whilst Mr Steen welcomed any provisions to lock up convicted traffickers for longer, he said that “the Bill must not become a lost opportunity. Longer sentences on their own were unlikely to address what has become the second largest criminal activity in the world – the trade in human beings as commodities”. Whilst detailed provision in the Queen’s Speech is not yet available, Mr Steen, the Special Advisor to the All Party Parliamentary Group said he was anxious that the recommendations of the Joint Select Committee on the Draft Modern Slavery Bill, published 8th April, should be followed in full.2

If we are to drive modern slavery out of Britain then we need to enlist help from victims. They are the key to whereabouts of traffickers. They must feel safe and secure enough without fear of retribution either for themselves or their family, for them to ‘spill the beans’. Their welfare and ongoing support must be at the centre of the new legislation. Nor is there evidence that stiffer penalties will deter traffickers. It may not. The ability to seize and sell their assets will.

Mr Steen also pointed out that the need for legislation to establish transparency in supply chains could make Britain a world leader, just as it was 207 years ago when the trade in slaves was abolished.

Mr Steen welcomed the lead responsibility into the Home Office, but warned that the problem in Britain was not just the hidden nature of the crime, but the hidden behaviour of those working to eradicate it. He said, “we need to promote a more open and visible society, which would be welcomed by all those involved, and especially victims”, and pointed out that to gain public awareness, meant a different attitude nationwide.

ENDS

 

Note to Editors:

1.       For further information please contact Anthony Steen at anthony@humantraffickingfoundation.org or on 077831364532

 

2.       http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/joint-select...

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All-Party Parliamentary Group demands better collection of data on human trafficking

January 21 - The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery today launches the report of their Inquiry into the collection, exchange and use of data about human trafficking and modern slavery. The Inquiry Report shows how data currently collected is incomplete and not shared between relevant organisations, thus hampering effective action against traffickers and support for victims. The Group urges that a key function of the Anti-slavery Commissioner, proposed in the draft Modern Slavery Bill, must be to require the better collection, sharing and use of data, from government and non-government organisations.

Evidence to the Inquiry showed:

-          There is no data category which includes modern slavery or trafficking for purposes other than sexual exploitation in Home Office Counting Rules;

-          There is no national police recording system to flag cases;

-          The Crown Prosecution Service has a flag system to record when there is a human trafficking offence;  and where the victim was under 18 at the time when the crime was committed but this analysis is not shared widely;

-          There is no interface between the National Referral Mechanism system for identifying victims of trafficking and missing persons investigations;

-          The UK Human Trafficking Centre, now a unit within the National Crime Agency, does not have statutory powers or a mandate to request data from other government agencies;

-          There is no formalised or uniform process of screening children and young people against risk indicators or victim profiles once they have entered the prison system;

-          There is no data management system that reports on the number of trafficked people in the prison estate;

-          There is no data kept centrally on unaccompanied children entering or leaving the UK.

The Inquiry took written evidence from 59 different sources including 23 police forces, nine statutory organisations and local authorities and 27 non-government organisations and academics, and heard oral evidence from 13 organisations and individuals.

Fiona Mactaggart MP, Chair of the Inquiry panel, said, “If we are going to tackle human trafficking and modern slavery we need basic information about where to find it, who are victims, and how their exploiters work.  In this Inquiry we have shown how the planned new trafficking commissioner can obtain better information  and share it in order to protect victims and prosecute perpetrators.  We have recommended action which can be taken now to share knowledge so that very vulnerable victims do not get lost, as too often they do now, before anyone is able to do anything to bring those responsible to justice.”

More information from Fiona Mactaggart MP, 020 7219 3416 or author of the report Christine Beddoe, 07906 341 889

 

 

Chairman of the Human Trafficking Foundation tells MPs about child slavery in their constituencies and asks them to take action

17 January 2014, London - Anthony Steen, the Home Secretary’s Special Envoy on Combating Modern Slavery, has today written to 243 Members of Parliament highlighting the number of cannabis farms in their constituencies.

In fact, 20 new cannabis farms a day are discovered by the police in Britain. In many of these are found child slaves who have been trafficked to Britain from Vietnam. 96 enslaved Vietnamese children were actually found on such farms in 2011-2012.

Despite guidance from the Director of Public Prosecutions, and directions from the Lord Chief Justice, many of these children were prosecuted as criminals and sent to prison, when they were simply victims of modern day slavery.

Mr Steen has called on each of the 243 MPs to help him confine modern-day slavery to the history books by:

  1. Insisting that fighting modern day slavery is included in their Police Commissioners’ action plan; and
  2. Backing the improved Government Bill to abolish modern-day slavery, currently in the Commons pre-legislative committee 

“Growing cannabis commercially is a flourishing industry in the UK”, said Mr Steen. “Many farms are terraced houses on the outskirts of major cities, netting £300,000 a year to traffickers. Of the 45 polices authorities, only 28 responded positively to my freedom of information request, but 5825 farms were located nonetheless. A veil of secrecy surrounds those who were found and where they are now. We have no knowledge of what has happened to the 96 enslaved Vietnamese children. It is likely they were deported back to Vietnam and then re-trafficked”, said Mr Steen.

As part of his role as Envoy, Mr Steen will be making an official field visit to Vietnam later this year in order to investigate what has to be done to stop this recycling of children, as well as making sure that victims found in Britain can be better helped to return home safely where appropriate, without the threat of re-trafficking.

ENDS

For further information please contact Anthony Steen at anthony@humantraffickingfoundation.org or on 077831364532