Philippa Southwell, HTMSE’s founder, has appeared on the BBC Radio 4 documentary ‘A Long Way from Vietnam’ alongside the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, and others, where she discussed the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) for victims of modern slavery and human trafficking.
The programme is presented by BBC journalist Nga Pham and explores why irregular Vietnamese migration is the second highest into the UK and delves into the experiences of migrants through discussions with the Vietnamese community, lawyers, police officers and the Minister for Immigration.
Approximately 70% of Philippa’s client base is currently Vietnamese. In the programme, Philippa discussed her own experience with the NRM and the delays faced by her clients in receiving their determinations – having to sometimes wait for months and even years for a confirmation of their trafficking status.
‘A Long Way from Vietnam’ was broadcast on 24th August 2021 and will be repeated on the 29th August. It can also be accessed on the BBC Sounds website.
‘Forced Labour in Supply Chains’ event, organised by women’s rights organisation Romildamor, will be held on 12th August 2021. Philippa Southwell, HTMSE’s founder, will be attending and speaking on modern slavey compliance and ethical supply chains during the panel discussion along with Katharine Bryan, who is a Modern Slavery Research and Policy Manager at the Walk Free Foundation.
The discussion will address the issues of modern slavery and human trafficking in supply chains, their existence in the fashion industries, as well as business human rights and measures to rectify human rights violations in supply chains.
To sign up and for further information about the event, please see here.
Dame Sara Thornton, UK’s Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner has published the 2020-2021 Annual Report. The report sets out the work of the Commissioner using the strategic plan presented before parliament in October 2019. However, the report also reflects on the challenges, including the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic and UK exit from the EU.
The report highlights that progress has been made, as well as the drawbacks, such as successful prosecution of perpetrators remaining infrequent. The Commissioner emphasises the need for research which could contribute more to the practical understanding of what works in terms of victims support and prosecution of offenders.
Particularly, the report underscores the need for protection of victims who commit criminal offences as a direct consequence of their trafficking. According to the report, child exploitation in county lines remains prevalent, though the possibility of criminal exploitation is not being considered at the start of an investigation risking victims being wrongly prosecuted. However, non-prosecution alone does not protect children or vulnerable adults; effective safeguarding is needed instead, the report indicates.
For the full findings of the report, please see here.
HTMSE Director, Philippa Southwell, provided evidence in the case of A & B v CICA, for which the Supreme Court has now handed down the judgment. Philippa’s evidence was based on her legal expertise in modern slavery, human trafficking and forced criminality.
The Court was asked to decide whether A and B were discriminated against contrary to Article 14 and 4 of the European Convention on Human Rights, by being barred from compensation under the 2012 iteration of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (CICS) based on having unspent convictions.
The Court rules that an automatic bar on compensation was lawful, where there was no nexus between the unspent convictions and trafficking. This still potentially allows for arguments for compensation on the grounds of nexus between trafficking the crime committed, if the victim has been unable to benefit from non-punishment provisions.
You can find the full judgment on the Supreme Court website here.
European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has refused UK Government’s request that the case of V.C.L. and A.N. v. United Kingdom (nos. 77587/12 and 74603/12) be referred to the Grand Chamber. The judgment, handed down on 16th February 2021, is now final.
This was landmark case in which the Chamber of the ECtHR unanimously found breaches of Articles 4 (prohibition of forced labour) and 6 § 1 (right to a fair trial) of the European Convention on Human Rights
Philippa Southwell, HTMSE director, represented VCL in both domestic proceedings and in his application to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Also instructed on behalf of VCL were Henry Blaxland QC, Emma Fitzsimons and Stephen Clark of Garden Court Chambers alongside Michelle Brewer, a former tenant who left Chambers to become a First-Tier Tribunal judge in the Immigration and Asylum Chamber.
For the confirmation of the rejection for referral to the Grand Chamber please see here.
For the full judgment please see here.
As the G7 meeting gets underway, the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Dame Sara Thornton and the CEO of the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery, Alex Their, appeal to world leaders to prioritise a coordinated approach on tackling the global issue of forced labour in supply chains.
Writing in an article in the Red Box section of The Times, they recommend specific measures and commitments to solve modern day slavery, emphasising that it requires and investment of capital and political will. They appeal to the G7 leaders to condemn forced labour in goods and services in their supply chains and commit to enforcing this.
It is proposed that G7 agree on specific and measurable commitments, such as eradication of forced labour in the G7 supply chains by 2025, and worldwide by 2030. Then, they should agree on steps to harmonise their laws and standards, followed by increase in investment in the countries trying to do the right thing. Lastly, the article calls for a ban to all state-controlled forced labour.
To read the full article by the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner and CEO of the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery, please see here.
12th June was the official World Day Against Child Labour. Children around the world are routinely engaged in paid and unpaid forms of work that are not harmful to them. However, they are classified as child labourers when they are either too young to work, or are involved in hazardous activities that may compromise their physical, mental, social or educational development.
The World Day Against Child Labour was first launched in 2002 by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in order to bring awareness to the global issue of child labour and the action and efforts needed to eliminate it. This year’s World Day was the first since the universal ratification of the ILO’s Convention No. 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour. It 2021 is also the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour.
As part of the observances, ILO and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have released global estimated and trends on child labour.
As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, the report reflects on how it threatens to reverse years of progress in tackling the problem of child labour and assesses how the pace of progress towards ending child labour is likely to be affected by the continuing pandemic and the economic crisis that has accompanied it.
For more on the World Day Against Child Labour, please see here, whilst you can find the ILO and UNICEF report here.
Philippa Southwell, founder of HTMSE and leading modern slavery lawyer represented one of the victims, VCL, in the landmark ECHR case, in relation to victims of human trafficking. Philippa represented VCL in both domestic proceedings and in his application to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
The ECHR judgement finds failure to adequately protect potential victims of child trafficking. Judgement in the case of V.C.L. AND A.N. v. the United Kingdom (applications nos. 77587/12 and 74603/12) was handed down last week held, unanimously, that there had been:
- a violation of Article 4 (prohibition of forced labour) of the European Convention on Human Rights, and
- a violation of Article 6 § 1 (right to a fair trial).
This case is likely to have wide reaching impact for victims of human trafficking.
As part of VCL’s legal team also instructed were Henry Blaxland QC, Emma Fitzsimons and Stephen Clark of Garden Court Chambers alongside Michelle Brewer, a former tenant who left Chambers to become a First-Tier Tribunal judge in the Immigration and Asylum Chamber. Liberty (National Council for Civil Liberties), GRETA (Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings) responsible for monitoring the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings and Anti-Slavery International intervened in this case.
You can find the full judgement here.
Photo Credit @ Wikimedia Commons
January 11th marked the National Human Trafficking Awareness Day in the US. Designated in 2007, it aims to raise awareness in the United States about human trafficking and modern slavery on national level.
The Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery Expert Directory was established to bring together leading professionals and specialist organisations working in the counter human trafficking and modern slavery sector and provides access to specialists from around the globe, from all different professions and disciplines.
We encourage all professionals, NGOs, charities, businesses, lawyers, medical practitioners, or other experts or specialist organisations not listed in the HTMSE directory to sign up to create a profile here: https://humantraffickingexperts.com/main/signup
October 18th was the UK’s Anti-Slavery Day, enacted back in 2010 as an Act of Parliament, with the intention to acknowledge and raise awareness for the estimated 40 million victims of modern slavery and human trafficking victims worldwide. Though the UK made strides in the global fight against modern slavery by enacting the Modern Slavery Act 2015, the first of its kind, in 2019, there were over ten thousand potential modern slavery victims identified in the UK alone. Each year Anti-Slavery Day reminds us of the individuals, communities, and even business exposed to the crime of Modern Slavery.
This year, over 50+ NGOs, academics and law firms have signed an open letter directed to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, calling for better protections and improved immigration policies for survivors of Modern Slavery. The letter highlights the plight of victims in immigration detention centres run in ‘prison-like’ conditions, and the practical disparity whereby more survivors than perpetrators are held ‘behind bars’.
Experts are calling on the UK Government to ‘turn the tide’: by ensuring victims of trafficking do not face punitive immigration control measures and Modern Slavery survivors receive needed support, particularly urging the Government to ensure victims receive support and immigration protection for at least 12 months – in line with the proposed Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill. At present, traffickers threats of detention and deportation as a mechanism to control vulnerable whilst victims already struggle to secure protection under the current asylum process as it is ‘notorious for disbelief’.
Several signatories to the letter can be found in the HTMSE Directory which connects modern slavery and human trafficking victims with experts in modern slavery across all areas of practice. We encourage anyone, whether a professional, NGO, charity, business, lawyer, medical practitioner, or other expert or specialist organisation not listed in the HTMSE directory to sign up to create a profile here: https://humantraffickingexperts.com/main/signup