• Human trafficking and online networks: policy, analysis, and ignorance

      Mendel, Jonathan; Sharapov, Kiril; University of Bedfordshire; University of Dundee; University of Dundee; University of Bedfordshire (Wiley, 2016)
      Dominant anti-trafficking policy discourses represent trafficking as an issue of crime, “illegal” migration, victimhood and humanitarianism. Such a narrow focus is not an adequate response to the interplay between technology, trafficking and anti-trafficking. This article explores different levels of analysis and the interplay between human trafficking and technology. We argue for a shift from policy discourses with a very limited focus on crime and victimisation to more systemic understandings of trafficking and more robust micro-analyses of trafficking and everyday life. The article calls for an agnotological understanding of policy responses to trafficking and technology: these depend upon the production of ignorance. We critique limitations in policy understandings of trafficking-related aspects of online spaces, and argue for better engagement with online networks. We conclude that there is a need to move beyond a focus on “new” technology and exceptionalist claims about “modern slavery” towards greater attention to everyday exploitation within neoliberalism.
    • 'Traffickers and their victims': anti-trafficking policy in the United Kingdom

      Sharapov, Kiril; University of Bedfordshire (SAGE, 2015-08-20)
      This paper relies upon the ‘what’s the problem represented to be?’ approach to policy analysis to interrogate key representations of human trafficking implicit in the UK government’s anti-trafficking policy. It identifies six policy vectors, or representations, of human trafficking embedded within the policy, including organized crime, ‘illegal’ immigration, and victim assistance as three primary vectors; sexual exploitation/prostitution, poverty in countries of victims’ origin, and isolated instances of labour law infringements as three secondary vectors. In addition, a series of assumptions, which underlie the current interpretation of trafficking, are also identified. By exploring what the problem of human trafficking is represented to be, the paper also provides an insight into what remains obscured within the context of the dominant policy frameworks. In doing so, it highlights the role of state-capital entanglements in normalizing exploitation of trafficked, smuggled and ‘offshored’ labour, and critiques the UK’s anti-trafficking policy for manufacturing doubt as to the structural causes of human trafficking within the context of neoliberalism.
    • Making justice work : experiences of criminal justice for children and young people affected by sexual exploitation as victims and witnesses

      Beckett, Helen; Warrington, Camille; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire, 2015-03)
      Making Justice Work is a one year participatory pilot research project, carried out by The International Centre: Researching Child Sexual Exploitation, Violence and Trafficking at The University of Bedfordshire. The research explored young people’s experiences of the criminal justice system in child sexual exploitation (CSE) cases, and the ways in which these could be improved.
    • Giving us the ‘biggest bang for the buck’ (or not): anti-trafficking government funding in Ukraine and the United Kingdom

      Sharapov, Kiril; University of Bedfordshire (Anti-Trafficking Review, 2014-09)
      The focus of this paper is on government anti-trafficking policies and funding allocations in two case-study countries, Ukraine and the United Kingdom (UK). The paper discusses specific ways, or ‘vectors’, in which human trafficking has been discursively constructed by national policies and the solutions that have been offered to counteract it. It relies on publicly available information and information obtained via Freedom of Information requests from public authorities in these countries to explore the extent to which anti-trafficking funding allocated by national governments supports or unsettles such representations. A broader definition of human trafficking has been encoded into anti-trafficking policies in Ukraine, implicating migratory pressures and violation of irregular migrants’ human rights as the root causes of trafficking. However, the ability of the government to act upon this definition is limited by the ongoing socio-economic and political crises in Ukraine. This is in comparison to the politicised construction of trafficking by the UK government as a threat from international organised crime and ‘illegal’ immigration. The paper concludes that governments in both countries put their anti-trafficking money where ‘their mouths are’: crime, immigration and victim care in the UK, and awareness raising, victim care and training of ‘frontline professionals’ in Ukraine.
    • By their side and on their side: reviewing the evidence for guardianship for separated children in in Northern Ireland

      Kohli, Ravi K.S.; Connolly, Helen; Beckett, Helen; Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People; University of Bedfordshire (Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, 2014-02)
      Considering the rights and best interests of separated children brings into sharp focus the challenge that Northern Ireland faces in making sure that proper standards are adhered to and effective services are provided for such a small but vulnerable group of children and young people. The recommendations explore how practice and services could be strengthened and assured in regard to guardianship and the report notes that we must ensure the support that separated children receive is robust and effective rather than being contingent or reliant on the skills of individual professionals.
    • Tackling child sexual exploitation: a study of current practice in London

      Beckett, Helen; Firmin, Carlene Emma; Hynes, Patricia; Pearce, Jenny J.; London Councils; London Safeguarding Children Board (University of Bedfordshire, 2014-01)
      In autumn 2013, London Councils commissioned a team of researchers from the University of Bedfordshire to map current responses to child sexual exploitation (CSE) across London. This summary report presents an overview of the key findings of the study; please refer to the full report for further details on, and context to, the study.1 The study was conducted in October / November 2013. The findings are drawn from an in-depth quantitative survey (completed by 30 London boroughs and local safeguarding children boards) and eight semi-structured interviews with statutory and voluntary sector providers. The report provides a snapshot of current responses to CSE across London, in relation to: Local scoping of the issue; Local policies and procedures; Training and awareness raising; Identification and early intervention (re. victims and perpetrators); Responding to cases of CSE (re. victims and perpetrators); and Overarching reflections on progress and challenges. Although there is still much progress to be made, the report encouragingly demonstrates that significant work is underway within this field, with pertinent learning emerging from a number of different boroughs.
    • "It's wrong - but you get used to it" : a qualitative study of gang-associated sexual violence towards, and exploitation of, young people in England

      Beckett, Helen; Brodie, Isabelle; Factor, Fiona; Melrose, Margaret; Pearce, Jenny J.; Pitts, John; Shuker, Lucie; Warrington, Camille; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire, 2013-11)
      The research was commissioned by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner for England as part of its Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Gangs and Groups. The research aimed to consider: the scale and nature of gang-associated sexual violence and exploitation in six areas of England; the main pathways into gang-related sexual violence and exploitation for young people living in these neighbourhoods; and potential models for an effective multi-agency response to the issue.
    • Twenty-first century party people: young people and sexual exploitation in the new millennium

      Melrose, Margaret; University of Bedfordshire (Wiley, 2013-05)
      This article reviews existing evidence and debates in relation to young people and sexual exploitation in the light of new empirical evidence generated through primary research. This research explored the types of sexual exploitation that practitioners had worked with in the preceding year and Local Safeguarding Children Boards’ responses to young people's sexual exploitation. The findings indicate that there may be several models of sexual exploitation operating simultaneously in any particular area, and the article therefore suggests that the discourse on young people's sexual exploitation that has dominated policy and practice for more than a decade in the UK requires reconsideration to account for the complex forms of sexual exploitation young people experience in the 21st century. The paper suggests that, in order to provide young people with the most appropriate support, practice responses need to be developed from the concrete conditions in which young people are subject to sexual exploitation, rather than applying abstract ‘models’ that fail to capture the lived experience of the young people concerned.
    • Trafficked young people: breaking the wall of silence

      Pearce, Jenny J.; Bovarnick, Silvie; Hynes, Patricia (Routledge, 2013, 2013-02-11)
    • Evaluation of Barnardo’s Safe Accommodation Project for sexually exploited and trafficked young people

      Shuker, Lucie; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire, 2013)
      The Safe Accommodation Project piloted the use of specialist foster placements for young people at risk, or victims, of sexual exploitation and/or trafficking, for the first time in England, as well as providing training to foster carers and associated professionals, and 1-1 support to young people in other care settings.
    • Special Issue: New Directions in the Sociology of Human Rights, Foreword

      Hynes, Patricia; Lamb, Michele; Short, Damien; Waites, Matthew (Routledge, 2012-12)
    • Research into gang-associated sexual exploitation and sexual violence : interim report

      Beckett, Helen; Brodie, Isabelle; Factor, Fiona; Melrose, Margaret; Pearce, Jenny J.; Pitts, John; Shuker, Lucie; Warrington, Camille; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire, 2012-11)
      This report presents the interim findings of a two year study into gang-associated sexual exploitation and violence
    • Exploring the scale and nature of child sexual exploitation in Scotland

      Brodie, Isabelle; Pearce, Jenny J.; University of Bedfordshire (Scottish Government, 2012-10-17)
      This report provides a summary of known evidence about the scale and nature of child sexual exploitation in Scotland, based on existing statistics and research and workshops with practitioner experts.
    • Challenging sexual violence in Europe: using participatory methods with children

      Pearce, Jenny J.; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire, 2012-10)
      This report presents the findings of a desk top review into activities across Europe involving young people as participants in efforts to prevent sexual violence against children. The work was initiated and supported by the Council of Europe programme 'Building a Europe for and with Children', with the Institute of Applied Social Research.
    • Global points of ‘vulnerability’: understanding processes of the trafficking of children and young people into, within and out of the UK

      Hynes, Patricia (2012-05-21)
      Within the UK, trafficking of children and young people into, within and out of the country has become an increasingly important and debated issue over the past decade. Although not a new phenomenon, human trafficking has risen up the policy agendas of many countries since the end of the Cold War. This type of forced migration is inextricably linked to the promotion and protection of human rights – be they civil, political, social, economic or cultural rights – and as such it is important that the broader social processes involved are understood and researched by sociologists. This contribution draws upon qualitative research into practitioner responses to trafficking of children conducted by the University of Bedfordshire and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) in the UK. A key finding of this study was that trafficking of children is often viewed as a one-off ‘event’ by those who have a duty to care for children and young people. It is argued that viewing trafficking as a broader sociological process rather than an event enables a greater understanding of the environmental backgrounds of individual children and the human rights contexts within countries of origin as well as subsequent migration trajectories. It is suggested that this may lead to an enhanced ability to identify children as having been trafficked by those with a duty to care for children. The literature from the multidisciplinary fields of refugee studies and forced migration is drawn upon where applicable.
    • The Barnardo's Safe Accommodation Project: consultation with young people

      Shuker, Lucie; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire, 2012-04)
      This report presents the findings of a consultation with young people in the care system affected by sexual exploitation or trafficking, conducted as part of the Barnardo's Safe Accommodation project. The consultation focused on experiences of the care system and how these could be improved.
    • The recruitment of foster carers: key messages from the research literature

      Shuker, Lucie; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire, 2012-02)
      This report summarises key learning from existing literature around the recruitment of foster carers.