And yet another brilliant workshop for Peace Society have taken place at the Uni! This time we had Hope for Justice coming to train us on human trafficking. This charitable organisation started its work 6 years ago as a small group of people and now are having offices not only in UK but also USA and Cambodia (handles mainly sexual trafficking cases). They exist to end human trafficking and slavery in our generation.

What is human trafficking?

Workshop was given by Abby who works for Hope for Justice, she described human trafficking as crime that has 3 elements:

 

WHAT? The act -> Recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons.

HOW? The means -> Threat or use of force, coercion, abduction, deception, fraud, abuse of power.

WHY? The purpose-> The type of exploitation suffered by, or intended for, the victim.

 

She then described to us different forms of exploitation:

  • Sexual exploitation (including grooming)
  • Forced labour
  • Domestic servitude
  • Criminal exploitation
  • Organ harvesting (2 cases reported in UK)

How does Hope for Justice work?

Hope for Justice works through network of Regional Investigation Hubs across the UK. First one started in January 2013 in the North of England and another one came up a year later in the Midlands. They identify and rescue victims of human trafficking. Throughout my work for Hope Housing I came across people from my own country and neighbouring countries who were trafficked to UK. Some of them have been forced to work, some of them paid somebody else to get them to UK, were promised a job and when they arrived, there was no work. Therefore I was actually surprised to find that some people who were trafficked, they do not even realise that it happened to them. Also in my language, Polish, there is no direct translation for human trafficking so I always need to explain in other words and that just makes the whole process even more difficult. Hope for Justice is then informed by us that we suspect a person was trafficked etc. and their investigators come in and talk with them, try to assess the situation. If a person was trafficked they are being offered 45 days in a safe house and help with accessing services that would address their issues. Often victims of trafficking have problems with substance misuse due to the horrible experiences they suffered through. Sometimes such period can be extended and also the organisation helps their service users many years after the incident.

How to register a case of human trafficking? You can do it through:

NRM- National Referral Mechanism which is the United Kingdom`s national framework for the protection and assistance of victims of human trafficking.

How does the NRM work?

  • Identifying victims of human trafficking
  • Providing victims of care
  • Providing victims with the reflection and recovery period they are entitled to
  • Ensuring the victims` human rights are respected

Organisations and institutions designed as “First Responders” who have the duty to refer to NRM any potential victims they came across:

  • Police
  • Social Services
  • Local Authorities
  • Salvation Army

NRM forms: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/human-trafficking-victims-referral-and-assessment-forms

There were 2340 referrals in 2014 in the UK.

NRM has proved quite successful system but is now being reviewed. Abby thinks that the real number of cases could be even 10 times higher than what they get reported.

 

What does HFJ do?

  • Identifies victims of trafficking with the aim of taking a person from victim, to survivor to, ultimately, an overcomer.

Hope for Justice works in 5 main areas:

  1. Investigate and Rescue
  2. Restoration- Assisting Victims to Cope and Recover
  3. Advocacy
  4. Training
  5. Campaign

Has two teams of investigating trafficking cases.

  • Perpetrator Accountability
  • Purpose Project (coordinated by Abby, the speaker)

And an Operations Team: undertakes investigations, rescues, aftercare assistance (welfare) and legal assistance for victims of trafficking.

They do not  have any active campaigns now, because of  the Act on Slavery that was going through Parliament (at the time of workshops).  Aside of campaigning and raising awareness HfJ also does:

  • Partnerships network
  • Train Frontline Professionals (Since January 2014, our UK team have trained 2086 frontline professionals (mainly police officers).

It is very important to raise awareness-  confusing ideas, victim idealisation. Importance of training policemen to avoid mistaken charges and arrests who were involved in criminal activities, for example weed farming.

Abby talked about an interesting project called:

The purpose project:

  • Intensive support for survivors
  • Three stages
  • Meeting initial needs
  • Language and community integration
  • Employability

13 participants of the project, 5 are now engaged in volunteering services, 5 are working.

Sexual exploitation is the 3rd biggest reason for referrals. There is also an increasing number of men being sexually trafficking. And an increased number of people who are trafficked to work on weed farmers.

During the workshop we have watched some stories of people who were trafficked and Abby told us more about their stories, it was very sad but also inspirational. The dream would be to prevent trafficking in future instead of working with victims.

I would think that Polish people are mainly the victims of trafficking, or at least that is my experience from work, when many homeless polish people are actually victims of trafficking. Turns out some cases that HfJ works with that the traffickers were polish. Upsetting for sure, but well I am not very surprised…

The workshop about Human Trafficking led by Hope for Justice took place on the 25th of March, just a day later the UK Modern Slavery Act received Royal Assent. Before 26th of March, the maximum jail sentences for traffickers was only 14 years, now it can be up to life sentence. The Modern Slavery Act will allow the authorities to seize traffickers` assets and force them to pay compensation to their victims. This Act is unique in Europe and “and one of the first pieces of legislation globally to focus on modern slavery and human trafficking”[1]

The work that Hope for Justice does is amazing! I hope that they, we will end human trafficking.

And keep in mind the words the Universal Declaration of Human Rights from 1948:

“No one shall be held in slavery or servitude, slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms”.

 

Big thank you to Mijke for reaching out to Hope for Justice and organising the workshop, I hope your volunteering experience will be valuable and inspirational, just like the work of HfJ is! Would also like to thank you the organisation, Hope for Justice and Abby for coming and taking time and effort to talk to our students from the Peace Society, I hope that this event also helped you to recruit new volunteers.

For more information go to:

http://hopeforjustice.org/

UK Human Trafficking Centre (UKHTC/National Crime Agency): http://nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/contact-us/contact-the-ukhtc

Human Trafficking Foundation: http://www.humantraffickingfoundation.org/

Home Office Human Trafficking: https://modernslavery.co.uk/

 

 

 

Information used in this post has been taken from the Workshop about Human Traffciking by Hope for Justice and also their official webside, and also from their handbook on human trafficking for NGOs.

[1] http://hopeforjustice.org/modern-slavery-act-receives-royal-assent/