Meeting on 7 September 2015

Human Trafficking Foundation

Advisory Forum 7th September 2015

Minutes

1.Welcome

Anthony Steen, Trustee and Chairman of the Human Trafficking Foundation (HTF), opened the meeting by welcoming the audience and introducing the guest speakers.  

2.Announcements by Forum Members

Tatiana Jardan, Director of HTF, provided an update on developments since the previous Advisory Forum of 15th June:

-          The launch of HTF’s Survivor Care Standards, endorsed by Kevin Hyland, and distributed to every police force in England and Wales and to TARA in Scotland. Noted very positive response from all who have received them.

-          If you want to get a copy http://www.humantraffickingfoundation.org/trafficking-survivor-care-standards

-          The launch of “Life Beyond The Safe House”, research focused on London examining the gaps in the long term support provided to survivors. Full report can be viewed here http://www.humantraffickingfoundation.org/life-beyond-safe-house-survivors-modern-slavery-london

The Small Project – collecting and distributing clothes for babies and toddlers (0-3 year olds). Encouraged support for the project amongst members of the Forum. Contact details are linda@thesmallproject.org.uk; http://www.thesmallproject.org.uk/

Professor Gary Craig, Durham University and Wilberforce Institute: Forced Labour Monitoring Group Seminar on 19th November in Liverpool; series of lectures in London entitled ‘The British Business of Slavery’ beginning 6th October; and book ‘Vulnerability, Exploitation and Migrants’ by Louise Waite et al.

Caryne Chapman Clark, Marginal Voices: performance of ‘Stories From The Heart’ at Rich Mix on 20 September, with post-show discussion (Flyer attached)

Anna Ruchalska, International Slavery Museum: Heritage Lottery Fund project to expand various collections. Asked for support and contributions to the exhibition.

Faye Gould, Restore: opening a long term accommodation facility for four survivors in Exeter, providing support in developing key skills.

Peter Holt, Haggar International: seeking to expand project to support Vietnamese survivors, currently implemented with the Medaille Trust – on-line/skype counselling with Vietnamese professionals; one successful return. Recently published report on Cambodians trafficked into Thai fishing industry.

Retha Jenkins, Protect, Guernsey: project seeking to raise awareness during the Rugby World Cup using online videos (#PassToProtect; www.pass2protect.com)

Carita Thomas, immigration solicitor at ATLEU: launch of judicial review against the UK Government regarding inadequate legal aid provision for victims of trafficking.

3.Update from the Home Office, Mr Offer Stern-Weiner, Head of Modern Slavery Unit

Introduction to the Modern Slavery Unit within the Home Office:  responsible for overseeing the Government’s Modern Slavery Strategy and implementation of the Modern Slavery Act.

The Modern Slavery Strategy can be divided into four parts:

1.       Pursue – prosecute and disrupt individuals and groups responsible for exploitation

2.       Prevent –prevent people from engaging in human trafficking

3.       Protect – strengthen safeguards by protecting vulnerable people and increasing awareness

4.       Prepare – reduce the harm caused by modern slavery through improved victim identification and support

Pursue:

The Modern Slavery Act creates new offences and orders aimed at assisting the police and the Crown Prosecution Service to deal with perpetrators of modern slavery. These provisions came into force on 31 July. The effectiveness of these powers in effectively disrupting trafficking is reliant upon training, raising awareness and a coordinated effort at national level to ensure police report these crimes.

The National Modern Slavery Threat Group, chaired by Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer (the National Policing Lead for Modern Slavery),  ) will meet for the first time later this week. It will look at the operational response to modern slavery: how many people have been prosecuted for trafficking offences and how many victims have been helped.

The Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Business have made announcements regarding the national living wage and the need for measures to avoid exploitation of low paid workers. The Government is considering whether to use the upcoming Immigration Bill (timing for introduction tbc) to increase the powers and remit of the Gangmasters Licencing Authority to deal with unscrupulous employers who abuse workers rights. 

Prevent:

Work here is at an early stage. More to do once the Modern Slavery Act provisions have been brought into effect.

Protect:

The biggest priority at the moment is bringing into effect the new provision on transparency in supply chains (TISC). The provision, which was announced by the Prime Minister during his recent visit to Vietnam, will mean that for the first time any large company (annual turnover exceeding £36m) operating in the UK will be obliged to report each year on the steps it has taken to tackle modern slavery in its supply chain. 

It is important to strike a balance between protecting victims and not placing too great a burden on companies. It is hoped that the approach will learn from and improve upon the experience of the California model.  The challenge for all of us who are involved in the fight against modern slavery is to make full use of those statements to recognise the companies who are taking steps to tackle modern slavery and to shine a light on those that are failing to do so. Government hopes to make this easier by introducing a central website to hold the statements in due course.

 

Prepare:

NRM Pilot: We need to ensure that the NRM can handle growing volumes of referrals while simultaneously improving care for victims. This is challenging. The pilot began in August and will operate for 12 months. The findings of the pilot will determine what we say in an updated version of the NRM guidance next year and whether we roll out nationally a different approach to the NRM.

Anti-Slavery Day: Home Office will bring into effect the following provisions from the Modern Slavery Act:  duty to notify the Home Office of potential victims; age presumption measures; visa arrangements for domestic overseas workers; interim NRM guidance; and companies’ duty to report on their supply chains.

Suggest that NGOs and Government coordinate approach to Anti-Slavery Day where possible. One way to do this would be for NGOs to keep HO informed of plans via the HTF.

Q&A

Anthony Steen: what role do NGOs have to play? Could Government finance NGO work? Concern that there is a lack of support for victims within the Act and the Government’s approach. 

OSW: The Government is committed to working with NGOs with important skills and contacts. There are areas where NGOs are better placed than Government in which to operate.

Regarding finance, owing to cut backs there is a need to be realistic. He would like to explore the opportunity of greater private funding.

Regarding victim support, the good support is already available and we want to look at how we can provide enhanced support, within the constraints of what is affordable.

Lynda Dearlove, Women at the Well – Is the Home Office considering adopting the Nordic Model of criminalising the purchase of sex? Regarding supply chains, would it be a legal requirement to include statement on slavery in reports to Companies House. 

OSW – consultation is ongoing with businesses regarding the best practical way to publish statements. Important that the public use that information to put pressure on companies. Regarding the Nordic Model, expressed willingness to discuss her concerns further. 

Prof Gary Craig: Important to learn from the failings of the consultation regarding supply chains when next consulting regarding the Gangmasters Licencing Authority (GLA). The GLA must have the appropriate resources to fulfil its remit.

OSW: Agrees that the GLA must have the resources to fulfil its remit. The consultation will explore how best to focus those resources, and Home Office is talking to the GLA about opportunities to harness other sources of funding, notably from the private sector. Regarding supply chain consultation, the response to the consultation was very clear and businesses (large and small) were very supportive.

Deborah Lashley-Bobb, Migrant Legal Action: where there is an asylum claim running parallel to the decision regarding victim status, will there be a separate decision-maker for each issue? 

OSW: My understanding is that the NRM decision should not overlap with any asylum claim. Under the pilot scheme, the panel of expert decision makers are separate from those determining the asylum claim. 

Rachel Mullan-Feroze, Ashiana Sheffield: 1)concern that decisions regarding victim status are made contingent on police investigations; 2) Registering each referral with a crime number – concern for consent and victims safety

OSW: Understands the concern, but stresses the importance of ensuring that crimes are properly dealt with, whilst respecting victims’ consent.

Cindy Berman, Ethical Trading Initiative: Regarding the expansion of GLA, it is important that preventive measures are not compromised.  

Regarding supply chains, it is important that government effectively monitors the statements made by companies and that guidance does not focus upon what companies are not required to do.  

OSW: Regarding the GLA, the consultation process will help us to understand the issues and mitigate any risks.

Regarding Government oversight of statements, there is no plan for Government to interrogate in detail +12,000 company statements each year. Our approach is to maximise transparency by shining a light on what companies are doing – it will be for customers, shareholders, investors and activists to use this information to recognise leaders and put pressure on laggards. Recognises the concern raised regarding the guidance to companies.

Pauline Monk, Soroptimist International: what is being done to ensure telephone service providers take steps to ensure their services are not being used for illegal purposes (prostitution)?

OSW: if the company is above the threshold, it is required to make a statement under the Act.

Megan Stewart: Stressed the importance of identifying new trends.

OSW: Agreed. Humans are unfortunately a very valuable commodity and we know that those involved in modern slavery will change their tactics to exploit new opportunities and vulnerabilities. The new Threat Group will help with this, using intelligence from the NCA, police, the GLA and other bodies.

Major Anne Read, the Salvation Army: Noted the good work done to support victims within and beyond the Salvation Army safe houses

OSW: Agreed. And we should always be on the lookout for opportunities to do more, including understanding what happens to victims after they leave the safe house. Lessons from provisions for other vulnerable groups (like problem drug users) is that this needs to be built up over time.

Roy Millard, South East Strategic Partnership for Migration: What contribution has the Modern Slavery Unit had upon the consultation on the reform of the asylum process within the Immigration Bill?

OSW – the MS Unit is working with the Immigration Bill team to understand and mitigate risks.

Peter Stanley, IATG: What are the Modern Slavery Unit’s powers?  

OSW: The Unit is a team of 9 people. They are the guardians of the UK’s modern slavery strategy and the Modern Slavery Act. They advise Ministers on policy, implementation, problems and successes. They also play an important role in running the NRM pilot.

Contact details for unit: ModernSlaveryUnit_DL @homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

Anthony Steen: Suggested that OSW returns to the Advisory Forum every 6 months to provide an update on the implementation of the modern slavery strategy.

4.Presentation by Professor Kevin Bales

Studying the history of anti-slavery movements, he has identified a pattern of ‘Gradualists’ (usually the Government) and ‘Immedialists’ (usually NGOs).

-          Identified the NRM and supply chain policies as ‘Gradualist’

Expressed his concern that we often fail to learn lessons from past movements – where did they fail and where did they succeed?

Wilberforce Institute has created the Anti-Slavery Useable Past resource, http://www2.hull.ac.uk/fass/wise/news/theantislaveryusablepast.aspx.  The movement is not emerging from nowhere and it is important to identify what techniques work well.

Emphasis placed upon the importance of members of the Forum working collectively and not fighting with each other. Concern expressed regarding a lack of resources and funding provided by governments around the world.

Q&A

Caryne Chapman Clark – expressed concern regarding the difficulty of monitoring and evaluate (M&E) effectiveness in relation to funding. Also referred to the lack of any form of mentoring scheme to assist survivors, and that it would be good to set up a scheme to train survivors to be mentors.

KB – A survivor – to - survivor mentoring system has recently been established in the US. However, a lack of understanding remains about PTSD suffered by survivors, and there are insufficient means and resources to treat the mental health problems of survivors.

Warning that in the US slaves were freed without proper support and the effects are still felt in society today. It is important that such mistakes are not repeated.

Peter Stanley – More work should be done to work with vulnerable communities to address root causes to prevent trafficking in the countries of origin

KB – There must be a community response, including raising awareness. Examples from around the world show that is the most effective way to prevent trafficking occurring in the first place.

5.Anti Slavery Day

Tatiana Jardan – encouraged Forum members to send information regarding any Anti-Slavery Day events or activities to HTF to be advertised on the www.antislaveryday.com (forms attached)

6.AOB

Euan Fraser introduced as new Project and Communications assistant at HTF (euan@humantraffickingfoundation.org)

Next meeting will be held at the beginning of December. The date will be confirmed as soon as possible.

Meeting ends