Fifth Informal Thematic Session for Global Compact on Migration

A blog by Kay Richmond, Chairman United Kingdom Programme Action Committee (UKPAC)

The UN has committed to addressing the problems of migration, slavery and trafficking through the development of a Global Compact (GC) based on the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants[1]. It will also include the Palermo Protocol, the Convention against Organised Crime[2]. There is a programme of consultations and consolidation taking place at present with the intention to have an agreed GC in September 2018.

Dr Joan Williams and I were fortunate to attend the thematic review in Vienna 4-5 September, on behalf of SIGBI, where we joined SI UN representatives Dora Vrdlovec and Christine Peer. The two days were spent listening to experts on the subject and to statements from the country delegations. Some ‘stakeholders’ (CSOs and NGOs) were also allowed to speak. I was given three minutes to do so in the informal session on the second morning – more later.

 

There was care to distinguish between trafficking and smuggling.

Trafficking:

  • Act: Recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons;
  • Means: Threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person;
  • Purpose: Exploitation including, but not limited to, sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.

 

Smuggling of migrants:

  • Act: The procurement of the irregular entry of a person;
  • Means: Into a State Party of which the person is not a national or a permanent resident;
  • Purpose: In order to obtain, directly or indirectly, a financial or other material benefit.

Trafficking is a crime against the person and can occur within a state whereas smuggling is a crime against a state and is transnational. Some points of note:

Slavery:

  • Victims should not be the subject of criminal proceedings;
  • Smuggling is highly racialised and gendered with 1.1 million victims from 18 countries in 2015/16;
  • If the smuggler enters the EU and is caught then there will be a prison sentence but if s/he facilitates transport from outside the EU s/he will be able to continue smuggling;
  • The need to ensure the implementation of relevant laws, including IHL, was emphasised; there is a significant gap between the adoption of relevant laws and their implementation;
  • Migrants deserve protection;
  • International cooperation and collaboration are essential.

 

Trafficking:

  • 90% of migrants are involved with traffickers;
  • The main reasons for trafficking are sexual exploitation and forced labour;
  • Currently there are:
    • 244 million international migrants;
    • 65 million are forced migrants of whom;
    • 21 million are women and girls;
  • There have been only 9,000 convictions with 90% for sex trafficking and 11% for labour despite millions being trafficked;
  • There is little distinction between smuggling and trafficking in reality and any distinctions must not be used to suit political pressures.

 

In summary:

  • There is a need to reconcile migration and anti-trafficking/slavery laws;
  • SDGs 5 and 8 are particularly relevant;
  • The training of personnel involved is needed, to a consistent standard; see Appendix 1 for the scheme being implemented across the UK at present;
  • Efforts involved in rescue are not only about saving people from drowning but also care, help and rehabilitation are essential.

 

Survey of the public’s knowledge of these crimes:

Because of the continued emphasis on the lack of training for personnel involved in ‘rescue’ I highlighted the training programme being rolled out across the UK currently and the survey UKPAC will be undertaking in October to determine the knowledge of the UK’s general public about the issues. This is based on the successful survey undertaken by Soroptimist International of Northern Ireland (SINI) and Republic of Ireland (ROI) Soroptimists last year. Discussions took place between SINI and the Department of Justice in order to agree the questions and methodology. Guidance for the interviewers was drawn up and agreement obtained from businesses, supermarkets and shopping centres to carry out the survey.

The results in Northern Ireland:

  • A total of over 1100 responses were obtained from 35% male and 65% female with 19% from ages 16-24 years, 55% aged 25-60 years and 26% aged over 60 years;
  • 19% thought it did not occur in NI or was not widespread with 12% having no view;
  • Most people gained their information from media outlets and thought that sexual exploitation was the most common form with forced labour coming a close second;
  • Almost one third identified local people as vulnerable with the majority siting foreign nationals. Women and children were identified as the most common victims;
  • 77% did not feel confident about identifying victims but 57% thought they knew how to report suspicions, the majority siting the police.

This report highlighted the gaps in the public’s knowledge of these crimes, how to identify victims and how to report their suspicions. These results enable targeting of  areas for the roll out of appropriate publicity and training. The UK Modern Slavery Training Delivery Group (UKMSTDG) has asked UKPAC to repeat this across the UK. We have representation on this group which is multidisciplinary and involves representatives of all 4 governments, government departments and agencies, the Independent Anti Slavery Commissioner, IOM UK, police, NHS, Salvation Army and NGOs/CSOs amongst others.

Clubs across the UK will be carrying out a similar survey, based on the SINI questionnaire, through face-to-face interviews and online using social media and Google Forms, between the 1st and 7th October 2017. We intend to have a fully analysed report available for our Study Day in Belfast on 7th July 2018.

The current training programmes in Wales, used as the basis for the UK schedule, is as follows:

  • 3 hour introduction and awareness session on slavery;
  • 3 hour introduction and awareness session to Child Sexual Exploitation (CS;
    • These courses are designed to give those attending an understanding of slavery and CSE, how to spot the signs and the action to take to report incidents. The course is open to delegates from devolved and non-devolved organisations and the third sector;
  • 1 Day First Responder Course – This course is for delegates from First Responder organisations only as prescribed by the Home Office;
  • ‘Lunch & Learn’ 30 minute training course suitable for ‘team meetings’ and short presentations;
  • Trainer Preparation Course (train-the-trainer) courses to be run as and when required to maintain the pool of available trainers across Wales;
  • 3 day Organised Crime and Modern Slavery Course Currently being delivered from the South Wales Police and North Wales Police ‘Hydra’ Centres. This course is for Senior Investigating Officers from Law Enforcement Agencies and Crown Prosecution Service Prosecutors/Crown Advocates.

In 2016 over 5,500 people were trained to these consistent levels across Wales.

Through working together to common standards, raising awareness, supporting victims and advocating for full implementation of laws, in line with UN Conventions, we can influence this agenda and combat these heinous crimes.

[1] https://refugeesmigrants.un.org/declaration

[1] http://www.unodc.org/documents/treaties/UNTOC/Publications/TOC%20Convention/TOCebook-e.pdf

 

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