DATE: 13:00 – 14:00, TUESDAY 17th APRIL 2018
VENUE: COMMITTEE ROOM G, HOUSE OF LORDS, PALACE OF WESTMINSTER, LONDON, SW1A 0PW
SPEAKER: PROFESSOR JOEL QUIRK, MODERN SLAVERY EXPERT
EVENT CHAIR: LORD DAVID ALTON
LORD DAVID ALTON:
My lords, ladies and gentlemen. It’s just turned one o’clock and I’m keen that we should start punctually. David Alton, I’m chairing the meeting on behalf of the Henry Jackson Society today. You are all very welcome here but not least is our guest speaker, Professor Joel Quirk and I will introduce him in a little more length in a moment, and Nikita Malik as well, who is Director of the Centre for the Response to Radicalisation and Terrorism at the Henry Jackson Society. The topic for debate today is the modern slavery and human trafficking. A report that’s been developed and I think the context as well is of course the legislation that was passed here in Parliament. My colleague, Lord Hilton who I see is with us today, he and I have participated in those proceedings, I think we’re both particularly interested to hear from Professor Quirk and from Nikita Malik, how they assess the working of our legislation and whether they see it as being the kind of world standard, gold standard, legislation that certainly the then Home Secretary now our Prime Minister hoped it would become. So first of all I will introduce Joel, if I may, Joel Quirk is professor of Politics at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, his research focuses on slavery and abolition, on human mobility and human rights, on global governance and human rights activism and the history and politics of Sub-Saharan Africa. His recent works include the Anti-Slavery Project, published in 2011, Mobility makes states, 2015, and Contemporary slavery, 2018. He is a current member of the International Scientific Committee of UNESCO, Slavery Project that they developed and the Yale Working Group on Modern Slavery. Nikita Malik, is the Director, as I’ve told you, of the Centre for the Response to Radicalisation and Terrorism at the Henry Jackson Society. She’s published several ground-breaking reports, backed and endorsed by UNICEF and by UNESCO. Reports on child soldiers, solidarity with refugees, and child to child. Nikita has presented findings and evidence to the European Union and the United Kingdom Parliaments, to the Foreign Commonwealth Office, the Department of State, the European Union Radicalization Awareness Network and the United Nations. She grew up in the Middle East and worked in Jordan from 2010 to 2014, conducting projects in Iraq, Palestine and Syria. In 2018 she was on Forbes magazine as a 30 Under 30, an influencer in law and policy. So we’ll hear first of all from Professor Quirk for about twenty minutes, and after that from Nikita and then there will be time for questions and answers from the floor. Over to you.
Thank you for that introduction, I was looking… My kind of interlocutor Jordan who kind of contacted me initially to… asked me to come and speak, I’m not sure he’s here.
He’s in the building.
I know, yes, we met, so I’d like to hope I begin [inaudible] in thanking Jordan for engaging with me and providing me with an opportunity to speak to you about modern slavery and human trafficking. So this isn’t the first time I’ve kind of been speaking as part of a Henry Jackson Society event. I was previously part of proceedings in 2007 as part of what was then a kind of explosion of discussion and interest around questions of all things kind of slavery, but past and present and its legacies, and since that time over the last kind of eleven, twelve years there’s been a remarkable investment in this topic from kind of all corners of political spectrum and all countries throughout the world. So in the kind of immediate history there is now a lot of investment in and around this topic but it doesn’t automatically follow that the commitments and rhetoric that are associated with this issue are necessarily translating into effective and appropriate policy designs. So it’s this thread that I want to kind of pick up and develop in this presentation which is why I’ve kind of entitled this presentation ‘the Devil in the Details’. So I’m very much interested in emphasizing and discussing some aspects of policy design in the context of addressing a cluster of issues which are associated with human trafficking and modern slavery. So that’s my kind of starting point. I want to briefly also emphasize that part of how this issue is being understood is very much from a criminal justice frame, so the UNODC, Office on Drugs and Crime, calculated in 2016 that 158 countries, which was 88% of their dataset, had passed laws combating some form of human trafficking and slavery, and this, their data suggests, was a massive increase from 33 countries at a similar stage in 2003.
So in terms of how this issue is played out, one of the first things that need to be emphasized is there is a debate and discussion around the design of criminal justice. Laws are being introduced, questions about prosecution, coordination between different agencies, coordination between different countries and a discussion about the appropriate criminal remedies and strategies and victim protection that’s associated with this particular set of crimes and the elements of crimes associated therein. So that’s part of what has been going on in and around this issue. But I want to suggest that on some level that this emphasis on criminal justice mechanisms and responses has tended to swallow a larger discussion about designing policies that deal with questions of causes rather than symptoms. So there continue to be arguments whether laws are good ones. You may have seen recently President Trump’s recently signed bill on Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking, … I may have got the acronym not quite right, and there’s a huge debate in and around this in terms of what its effects are, intended or otherwise. Similarly, the Indian parliament is having a discussion about their own anti-trafficking legislation. So there is a conversation to be had about questions of legal design. There’s a conversation to be had about the best criminal justice strategies, the best types of issues associated with prosecuting offenders in the line.
But alongside that is an increasingly ambitious agenda which links or associates questions of slavery and human trafficking with the host of different issues. So it’s what Janie Chuang calls ‘exploitation creep’. So over the last ten to fifteen years you have an issue which initially started with the concern about abuses associated with the criminal exploitation of migrants, which was ultimately where the Palermo Trafficking Protocol was rooted, and there’s been a proliferation of issues. So if you look in the US Trafficking in Persons Reports, also any of the documentation around this issue, you now find a tremendous range of issues. So you have global supply chain, you have issues associated with sex, issues associated with migration, you have hereditary types of bondage in West Africa, you have forced labour for the state in places like North Korea, Eritrea, you have questions of the exploitation of abuse and debt bondage, you have questions of forced and early marriage, you have issues associated with wartime abuses and atrocities, and all of these things are now incorporated under the rubric of combating trafficking and slavery today. So there’s been an expansion and in some levels there’s been an inflation. Now the underlying logic behind this isn’t difficult to understand. Given the distinctive opprobrium attaching to slavery, there’s a temptation to try and link or associate all kinds of issues with slavery in part in order to generate interests, in order to attract attention and to hopefully drive up a level of interest and investment in a range of issues. So the expansion of the number of categories associated with slavery has left us with a position where the policy agenda is now overloaded thematically and globally and as a consequence of that there’s this real temptation to have slavery simply be a place holder for everything that is wrong and bad in this world.
And in addition to that inflation, you also have problems with policy. So if you think about how policy is constructed, it requires carefully targeted interventions, granular discussions about design, state agencies, institutions, development and so on and so forth. But aggregating all of these different issues together you end up with a scenario where the rhetoric is powerful and the agenda is ambitious but there is a disconnect between the rhetoric as stated and the types of specific policy interventions that are required in order to actively address and combat severe forms of exploitation and abuse. And this is evident in the most recent global estimates on modern slavery which are tied to the sustainable development goal agenda and Alliance 8.7, where in the ILO in partnership with the Walk Free Foundation now have this figure of 40 odd million slaves in the world today. But in addition to this figure of 40 odd million slaves in the day, there’s a lack of clarity about what it is that is going on. So in 8.7 the provision which is generating the most interest, you have modern slavery, human trafficking and forced labour linked together in a single line. And in addition to that, 8.7 also relates to a broader set of agendas that deal with question of child labour and child exploitation. So in this context you have a lot of different categories brought together and the estimates reflect this where in their figure breaks down to just under 25 million victims of forced labour, modern slavery and 14 something… I’m basing on the decimal point… victims of forced marriage. So the addition of forced marriage is at some level a political move which splits differences of opinion between the ILO and Walk Free but it also leaves a policy agenda that aggregates very different issues. So the types of interventions and discussions you have to deal with questions of early marriage, with forced marriage, with customs associated with marriage are qualitatively different to the types of questions that you have to deal when it comes to the design of labour markets, or questions of migration and so on and so forth. So I want to suggest that while there are good rhetorical reasons for adding together a bunch of different issues under the rubric of modern slavery, human trafficking, forced labour, whatever you want to call it, in policy terms this actually creates something of an impediment where in the types of interventions that you actually need to contemplate and make, can’t operate at that level of abstraction. So when it comes to dealing with specific discussions of policy, there’s a real need to now uncouple different thematic agendas. So the issues associated with forced and early marriage aren’t easily assimilated under a question of migration and labour exploitation.
So in order to give you a kind of sense of this I just want to take up what I regard to be the most significant element of the Modern Slavery Act that you mentioned previously which is the question of supply chains and labour exploitation. So the Modern Slavery Act passed several years ago now, has a bunch of criminal justice provisions which are being debated and discussed by prosecutors. But what is most significant in terms of its resonance internationally is a model or marker for legislation elsewhere, including most notably Australia recently, is this idea that abuses associated with global supply chains can be dealt with forms of transparency and disclosure legislation. So the Modern Slavery Act requires companies with annual revenues over 36 million pounds to publish a statement which outlines what it is that they are expecting to do or not do in relation to modern slavery. So it’s this specific provision that is becoming a large part of the policy discussion, it’s being emulated and extended by Walk Free, it has precursors in places like California, which has its own transparency legislation, but it’s also a conversation which is becoming this is what you do with supply chains. So I wanted to unpack that a little bit. I want to suggest that, in the question of labour exploitation and abuses associated with migration specifically, this transparency legislation in a lot of ways is displacing a policy conversation rather than having one. It’s displacing a policy conversation because it’s generating an analysis of which companies are reporting, cause obviously a lot of them haven’t even though they are normally required to, what penalties there are for not reporting which today there are none and as a consequence of that the conversation around supply chains is becoming a conversation about corporate social responsibility and not becoming a conversation about how labour markets are designed and structured.
So as an argument against the voluntarism and disclosure associated with supply chain transparency legislation I want to suggest a couple of different points of intervention. The first is a very familiar one, which is the idea of labour inspections of workplaces as a key ingredient in monitoring and evaluating abuses in workplaces. So if you have a look at the current awareness campaigns that are being rolled out over the last kind of 18 odd months, there’s an emphasis on instructing citizens to spot the signs of labour exploitation. Now the problem with these ‘spot the signs’ campaigns is that there’s no real differentiation between the signs that are said to be associated with modern slavery and the signs that are a characteristic feature of precarious workers and migrants in kind of irregular and precarious labour markets. So people who have irregular hours, poor working conditions, lack of social integration, don’t speak languages, all of these things are a characteristic feature of precarious workers in unregulated labour markets. So as a consequence of this, there’s arguments about labour inspections, there’s arguments about joint employer liability, where in subcontracting to companies further down the chain is used to absolve or detach criminal liability for abuses in global supply chains, holding companies at multinational level responsible for what their subcontractors do, in one way or another, or extending labour protections associated with multinational companies to workers who work for them… who work producing their goods but not legally for them are arguments about the design of labour markets. We had the same issue with tied visa schemes in relation to migrant domestic workers which is obviously a hugely controversial issue in the House of Lords, where changing the way and the terms upon which people work and thereby giving them greater opportunities to exercise their right to change employers, greater opportunities to seek back pay, greater opportunity to raise remedies without being threaten by deportation and so on and so forth.
So I want to suggest a couple of things and my time is running out. I want to suggest firstly that there’s now a huge number of different issues which have been aggregated under the rubric of fighting trafficking and modern slavery. I want to suggest that this makes great sense politically and in terms of trying to generate attention, but it ultimately is counterproductive when it comes to the discussion of the granular details associated with policy design. So I want to suggest that there is a need to uncouple different thematic agendas and treat them as specific issues rather than subcategories of this increasingly overloaded rubric of modern slavery. And in the relation to specific questions of labour exploitation I want to suggest that it’s the design of labour markets. It’s the ways in which people are paid, on what terms, how they have the capacity to seek redress, on what terms they migrate, and obviously tied to migration has very significant consequences throughout the globe in terms of the millions of people who are working without capacity to change employers, in places like the Middle East or East Asia and so on. So it’s a question of labour market design, it’s a question of intervention, it’s a suspicion of forms of disclosure associated with transparency legislation which don’t require monitoring and external evaluation and ultimately it’s a challenge to the key idea that there are a small number of deviant and exceptional cases which require targeted intervention. And instead of discussion of the rights and protections which are afforded to all workers, rather than simply seeking to identify and target those that are ascribed the exceptional status associated with slavery. Thank you.
LORD DAVID ALTON:
I think that Professor Quirk has admirably set the scene for us for what I know will be a very interesting discussion, thank you, that was very thought-provoking. Nikita, would you like to now respond for ten minutes and then we will throw it open to the floor.
Sure, so just… make sure this… I will just speak loudly. I wanted to pick up on the introductory remark about the Modern Slaver Act and how important that is. The report that we published in October looked especially at the idea of sexual slavery and prostitution and sexual violence in the context coming from the Centre for the Response to Radicalisation and Terrorism, in the context of terrorists employing tactics of trafficking and of modern slavery. So this came initially from a UN Security Council bill which looked at terrorists employing sexual violence and terrorists as traffickers. Now this was a bill that was published and it was incredibly interesting simply because at the moment there is no international definition of terrorism, we all know this, and as a result it’s actually remarkably difficult to prosecute fighters for terrorism, this is very important for returning fighters but also what is happening in Iraq and Syria. So with the help of lawyers working at the United Nations I began to look at more carefully what these fighters in Islamic State, what other laws they might be breaking and one of the is a use of modern slavery and of trafficking and as I began to look at this evidence what I found even more appalling was the cases of the fighters from the United Kingdom who had gone to Iraq and Syria to join Islamic State precisely because they were attracted by the idea of sexual violence, and they were attracted and incentivised to do so by the promise of slaves. So there were a number of people we identified who had a background of domestic violence and were often escaping rape convictions and then would travel and join a group like Islamic State. So there is that kind of push factor there and a lot of the propaganda that was released was very much with the idea that modern slavery and forced prostitution could be used as a way to incentive these fighters and also to reward them to recruit them when monetary incentives were not possible. So that was the kind of background of the analysis that we were doing for the report and the more interesting part of it personally for me was what do we do about it. So as Joel rightly pointed out there are a number of different issues that often get tangled up with modern slavery but what I was very interested in was what is the UK doing to help prosecute or to help punish people who are being incentivised by modern slavery in this way and in this particular context so one of the recommendations we put forward, one of nine in the report was very basic but it was the creation of an international legal task force led by the United Kingdom. Something which actually does surprisingly does not exist. I think the United Nations is working to build something like that but we thought perhaps this would be something that the UK could lead on and we were very pleased that this was actually debated at the House of Lords and Lord Ahmad who is the Prime Minister’s Special Representative against Sexual Violence in Conflict said that he would take it up. So in following from Joel’s remarks I think modern slavery is a huge issue if we look particularly at estimates of modern slavery as well, I’m sure you’ve seen this too, the estimates are so diverse and that is precisely because of terminology, I think you know some of especially if you’re coming and trying to get estimates from conflict countries like Iraq and Syria or Nigeria, there are no estimates. Often, you know, there will be an indication from the United Nations or from a foreign government saying ‘you must be implementing these methods to measure and give us an indication of how many…you know… how much modern slavery is effecting your country’ and there will be years where there is no data provided or the data doesn’t add up so we have a macro issue, definitely, of understanding the terminology, understanding the terms, I think there is some promise, there is some leeway that is being made in this area but I still do think that there is a lot of work that remains to be done so that would be my follow-up comment from that.
LORD DAVID ALTON:
Thank you very much indeed. Let’s open it to the discussion from the floor…inaudible say who you are, if you represent an organization perhaps you can mention that too. We’ll start with the gentleman here on my left.
Thank you very much indeed, name [inaudible], a member of the Henry Jackson Society panel, senior fellow at the Institute of Statecraft, my views are very much my own, I’ve worked on border control projects in countries such as Ukraine, Moldova, where there is a very definite trafficking issue and my question is for both of you but particularly based on Professor Quirk’s opening comment about how it seems to be very much…or was, probably still is, much of the effort is from a criminal justice downwards approach. I don’t think that’s really… because it means it not properly understood first before it’s looked at. Do you see any particular examples of where the two, the criminal justice and the more sociological and anthropological are being brought together in countries perhaps which are flagging it up as a way forward? I had to change the arrangements for having my car maintained a few years ago, because in 2016 the guy who used to do it became the first person in England and Wales to be jailed for marital slavery. It’s not a coincidence that he also believes that the US government was behind 9/11.
So there’s a couple of point I’d make about the criminal justice. I thank you for your question partly because I will say something about that point and something about what I think the characteristics of this issue are in general. I think there’s been a tendency to have legislation and its passage stand in as a marker for action. So if you look at the rankings in trafficking and persons reports conducted by the US government which are obviously highly controversial for all kinds of reasons, there was a period about ten years ago where people would get bumps on the rankings on the basis of the passage of legislation. And it’s not quite a one-to-one relationship but there’s nonetheless a suspicion that one of the ways in which you signal progress is by passing legislation. And there’s two issues with that. Firstly, that the UNODC report that I kind of mentioned from a couple of years back goes on to lament the lack of prosecution. So there is a… I forget the exact phrase but it’s something like ‘disappointingly few prosecutions’. The second point is, it’s not immediately clear that the legislation that promulgated actually aligns with the agendas that are said to motive it. So to give you an example, President Trump’s kind of famous executive order where he seeks to build a wall includes a provision about how the wall will prevent drug and human trafficking. Now there are many things that can be said about the wall but its relatively clear that President Trump in particular is not directly or primarily motivated by humanitarian concern about the exploitation of migrants. There’s other issues on the agenda. So I think that in a lot of cases these laws become vehicles for other things. In places like South Africa, for example, where I’m now based, they very much become a vehicle for kind of police operations and raids on brothels and even in the early kind of stages of the UK in places like the various pentameter operations were very much kind of geared in that particular vein. So what the law says and how it affects are often different things. There’s a discussion in some circles amongst academics about the collateral damages associated with particular types of legislation so however well-intentioned they may be in practice they end up ultimately doing more harm than good. So I think legislation stands in as a marker for progress and similarly Indian legislation that is currently being discussed is partly motivated by a concern by the Indian government that they need legislation in order to deal with the opprobrium that is now attaching to India as a consequence of the various estimates that specifically identifying India as having a unique and exceptional problem with slavery or trafficking, whatever you want to call it. So the legislation stands in as a marker and I do think that the Modern Slavery Act at least in part is becoming a model to signal commitment. And you can definitely see this in the Australian case where the Australian model legislation replicates in large part many of the features associated with the UK one. There are other examples of this. I mean about ten years ago the Brazilian government’s interventions around the labour exploitation were occupying the same type of place as the UK legislation now occupies. So the UK…the Brazilian legislation had a regime of labour inspections, it had dirty lists for companies that were engaged in forced labour and abuses, it had a whole bunch of different kind of moving pieces including kind of paramilitary style kind of interventions on… in various locations which I think had some elements that people were seeking to emulate but that was not a model that was taken up. So the Brazilian model gets dropped about four or five years ago and the place in the policy conversation is now increasingly occupied by the UK version. I do think that you have specific examples of pieces of legislation that are useful and it’s striking that it used to be that the migrant domestic workers used to have a legal right to change employers in the UK and that right was closed. There’s legislation in South Africa now which has joint employer liability where subcontracting organizations in places like Heineken where people work for Heineken for ten, twelve, fifteen years, yet they are legally separate from Heineken and they work for a labour broker which thereby creates a separation where the exploited and vulnerable [inaudible]. According to the South African legislation Heineken now has a legal obligation to treat the subcontracted workers the same it treats its regular employers. So there’s elements that can kind of be developed. Reform of tied visas, I mean focus on labour exploitation did an analysis of labour inspections which calculated that the UK currently has less than one labour inspector for a hundred thousand people and France has over eighteen. And there’s cases here where you can definitely point to differences and variations. So I don’t think there’s one country that stands out but I do think there are elements of legislation and design that can do better or worse depending on what your specific point of intervention is and what the problem you want to solve is.
I have nothing to…
LORD DAVID ALTON:
Can I ask you something…inaudible what you said about a few moments ago about the specific problem of ISIS related slavery. There was a report in yesterday’s Times that the Chaldean woman who was interviewed who had been held for three years… Chaldean Christian woman and she had been held alongside Yazidis she has been sexually violated and systematically abused over the whole of that time. There was nothing at all in the article about anyone ever being brought to justice and that’s something that you were hinting at in your remarks. How do you bring someone to justice who’s committed offences of that kind which may be genocidal in character, which certainly are war crimes and crimes against humanity but what would be the mechanism, do you think that would bring someone to justice in those circumstances?
So the interesting thing or the kind of sad thing about the bringing someone to justice in the ISIS context is that their government structures, because they’re not really a state, are not recognised so you would need the International Criminal Court to step in and do that. Now the International Criminal Court has only ever had one case of trying someone for sexual violence in this way and the… eventually took the case to not progress, they now have a second case that they are trialling someone for. But crucial to bringing anyone to justice and bringing justice for these victims is evidence collection and testimonies and I think what tends to happen in this space is kind of like what Joel was saying earlier is that there is a huge influx of interests and you know stories will be covered like they are in the newspapers but then there becomes a bit of reluctance on the part of individuals to share these because nothing is happening. You know, and they want to deal with the trauma and get on with their lives and we’ve… once they escape they continue to have ordinary lives so there are a number of campaigners and in fact the UK is doing a lot of work on this to try to hold the ICC in an area such as perhaps Libya where their rule would actually be acknowledged because Libya has signed onto the Rome Statue whereas Iraq and Syria have not and hold perhaps a trial to bring somebody to justice in this way. Now, will we be actually able to do it and what will come out of it remains to be seen but I do think it is a very important part of helping all of these individuals who have been bought and sold by these groups have some kind of a… of justice for what’s happened to them.
I will take that up on a… international jurisprudence. There’s some elements that I think may be worth emphasizing because I think in the report there is emphasis on specifically Islamic states and one of my other research projects is called ‘Conjugal Slavery in War’ which is basically dealing with patterns of wartime abductions and there’s a bunch of other cases that potentially kind of speak to this issue so the project that I am engaged with deals with questions in Uganda, DRC, Rwanda, Liberia and Sierra Leone. And there’s jurisprudence particularly in the Sierra Leone case out of the kind of [inaudible] where the special [inaudible] of Sierra Leone talks about sexual enslavement, forced conjugal association, where there are discussions around the elements of crime associated with enslavement, sexual or otherwise and in the Taylor trial there’s also an elaborate ruling that deals with the questions of evidence which specifically relates to practices associated with wartime abduction and abuse. So there’s patterns of wartime violence that aren’t easily reducible to questions of Islam. So in the broader kind of context of sub-Saharan Africa particularly in the 1990s and early 2000s where there was a high prevalence of civil war you have questions of women being abducted by people like Joseph Cony and there’s five cases before the ICC, Cony included, that specifically relate to patterns of sexual violence and abuse. So I think there are question at an international criminal justice standpoint but I also think there’s a bunch of civil society activism around questions of post-conflict reconstruction and disarmament and demobilisation, where it’s clear that the shift from kind of wartime to peacetime and the declaration that the war is over tends to result in interventions that prioritise taking guns off people and don’t prioritise questions of patterns of sexual violence associated with conflict situations and forms of reparations and repair and justice for women who had been abducted in these types of cases. So as part of this process of this project with some of the partners like Women’s Forum in Sierra Leone and others are invested in the idea of incorporating sexual violence and forced marriage into post-conflict interventions with a view to specifically recognizing the experiences of abducted women in post-conflict outcomes and solutions. So there’s always a huge problem with conflict when it’s ongoing you have very limited remedies and at some level there’s a kind of don’t break it unless you can fix it element which is kind of applied to a lot of conflict situations but there is quite a lot about what you do in the aftermath of conflict and how you integrate and deal with the experiences of women and girls who had been abducted and forced into various violent and horrific circumstances.
LORD DAVID ALTON:
Thank you very much, name [inaudible].
Was there [inaudible] rather more done in the post-conflict in Bosnian situation. I’m not particularly familiar with it but I think some positive work was done. Can you confirm that?
Not with a high degree of certainty. There’s a path that I wouldn’t declare myself an expert on international jurisprudence but there’s definitely a path that has been charted from kind of Bosnia to Rwanda to various criminal provisions and the ICC does theoretically at least have a pot of money that they can give for reparations but I wouldn’t suggest that any of these could ever be defined as adequate or sufficient
QUESTION 2 SPEAKER:
When you talk about reparations, do you mean compensation for harm suffered or…
Yeah, compensation. So reparations in post-conflict situations in places like Sierra Leone, like Liberia, there is an understanding that being subject to various patterns of abuse should be recognized and supported in order to create patterns in order to build new lives and so on and so forth. So there’s quite specific demands by women who had been abducted to be explicitly incorporated into post-conflict mechanisms and having their circumstances recognized.
I could just comment on… So there have been particular cases by the ICC in the countries as you mentioned in the post-conflict settings, I think what is unique and it wasn’t just Islamic State, we also looked at Boko Haram, but what is unique about the Islamic State situation is that, firstly, it’s not so straight forward because none of these countries are actually signed up to the Rome Statute,so the rule of the ICC is questionable. The second is the cases where they have been, the ICC have been working to prosecute these individuals or to give reparations, have not been particularly successful and I think the ideology in these case of non-state armed groups cannot be completely ignored because of the levels of mass conversions that have been done to women and systematic targeting of Yazidi women and Christian women and by Boko Haram particularly of Christian women and trying to convert them and the levels of pamphlets and written material they have promoted to justify abusing slaves and taking up slaves. So all of those things must be considered. In terms of reparations I do agree that I don’t think that the monetary levels are enough and often it falls on the communities themselves to try to change what they are doing in order to reduce the levels of stigma. So the Yazidi community in particular, it has taken the leader of the Yazidi community because Yazidi women cannot marry men who are not Yazidis, yet here we have so many instances of forced marriages, forced conversions, forced sexual slavery, so the leader of the community has come out and said ‘not only is it ok in these cases that happened, these don’t count as valid marriages’, they’ve also incorporated a level of ritual so they have a fountain that they… they are using as almost cleansing ritual, so these Yazidi women and their children born out of these forced marriages can take part in this ritual cleansing ceremony which is helping them to heal and is also helping various members of their community to stay strong and to not stigmatize women who had no choice in the matter. So I think yes there has to be a top-down approach definitely from prosecution but eventually it’s the bottom-up approaches that can also be very effective and helping… helping these women.
LORD DAVID ALTON:
Thank you. Any other questions from the floor? Gentleman here.
My name is name [inaudible]. I’ve got several questions. [inaudible] overall perspective of the title of this talk which is how one might focus on the issue of funding terrorism and from reading the contents of that leaflet I think one is not encouraged to fell that there is any way of actually doing this also listening to what people have said about it… If I have to pick up a threat I think I caught suggesting that we should perhaps not talk about funding terrorism but rewarding, which is a similar form of encouraging or increasing terrorism so either change or extend the concept of funding where you are looking for money to one of rewarding where you are looking for encouraging [inaudible] and the other similar thought is to broaden the term terrorism which perhaps is more easily understood by the lay people, the newspapers as you are construct the episodes by which we have some grasp of what is going on and to find a term which is something like extreme coercion that is forcing people to do things which they would never wish to do themselves or actually also by force not allowing them to do things which they would want to do. So, I mean, there’s a huge new area which we haven’t had touched on which is manifesting [inaudible]. There are people of a certain rank in the cast system who are not allowed to work in certain places and that is a coercion which is in a sense similar to the coercion of forcing people to do things, the coercion of forcing people to not do things. So I am basically asking for reflections on the possibility of extending these concepts which we’ve got here. One of funding to rewarding and second, terrorism to some form of coercion.
LORD DAVID ALTON:
So Nikita will you take the issues around terrorism and then perhaps Joel will talk about cast and some of the questions the gentleman asked… touched on.
So the shorter infographic you have there is actually… reflects a 200 page report which also looks at the monetary aspects so yes there is definitely the idea of rewarding fighters with women but actually women are also being bought and sold so part of the report was estimating how much money may have gone to these groups and not only bought and sold between fighters but also eventually bought by smugglers and families paying ransoms and governments paying ransoms to get these women back so I do agree that its much larger than just money… and then the second idea in terms of terrorism versus coercion… I agree that coercion and force are very important elements of modern day slavery but terrorists are particularly targeting groups such as the Yazidi community for genocidal purposes and to terrorize their population and to kill all of the men in front of the women and children, to convert the children, force them to be fighters, and to impregnate and convert the women as well. So I think in terms of that there’s a huge element of terror and fear which is inherent in their goal to completely wipe out a community which they believe is not… you know, they don’t believe that the Yazidi community is a legitimate community which is evidence by the kind of material they release for the public to justify why it is that they commit these acts of violence…so that would be my reflections on this [inaudible].
LORD DAVID ALTON:
Thank you… Joel?
So, I think maybe I will pick up on the idea of extending definitions and maybe play with that a little bit. There is this temptation, both in terrorism and slavery, to expand the category so that it encompasses a bunch of problems and issues that you want to prioritize as deserving [inaudible] intervention. And I’m kind of less familiar with terrorism but I kind of do know from general experience that this manipulation is something that the governments have always been quite keen on so when George Bush was doing his war on terror, the Russian government was keen on all Chechens being terrorists and so on and so forth. The elasticity of these terms makes them applied for various political and rhetorical purposes. And in the case of slavery there really has been the temptation to kind of invoke slavery as a way of prioritizing and if you talk to a lawyer and a prosecutor they’ll go ‘well the law doesn’t say that’. If you want to charge someone for the crime of enslavement you can’t use your own definition. You can’t simply declare that this is slavery, you have to use legal benchmark consensuses because that’s the law and that’s how you prosecute people. So a while back I was a part of a project which put together these things called the Harvard-Bellagio guidelines on the legal definition of slavery and they basically say if you want to prosecute someone say it’s the ICC you have to use the legal definition of slavery as found in the 1926 convention which is the status or condition of a person over who any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership are exercised… We’ve spend a long time talking so I kind of memorized it to a certain point. This definition is translated into elements of crime, and its only on the bases of these legal criteria that you can actually prosecute someone. So there’s a discourse, there’s an application of slavery to all kinds of things but simply because you said something is slavery or you decide something is terrorism it doesn’t necessarily translate into legislation. So the rhetoric surround this is in a lot of cases detached from the law and the criminal justice mechanisms that need to be applied in order to successfully bring someone to justice. I’d also say here that I’m not necessarily comfortable with the idea that securitization is compatible with helping people in situations of extreme exploitation. So when the Palermo Protocol was first put together, it’s a supplement to the Transnational Convention on Organized Crime and there was a bet amongst human rights activists that the point of its creation, that tying it to organized crime frame, linking it to organized crime would generate more interest and investment and concern by states than simply having another human rights treaty which is non-binding and easily dismissed. So the bet was that linking this with organized crime would actually generate interest. The problem, however, is that framing this as organized crime generates security responses, it generates forms of intervention which, like Trump’s wall, aren’t necessarily primarily concerned with protecting and supporting people in positions of vulnerability. So that the bet of linking extreme exploitation and abuse with trafficking as a form of organized crime was that this would help. But in a lot of cases the types of interventions that follow from this linkage are more concerned with security than they are with assisting people in situations of vulnerability.
LORD DAVID ALTON:
Well, thank you very much. I think we are drawing to the end now because we’ve got about four minutes before we’ve got to vacate the room so I think I will, on that note, draw a conclusion to the contributions from our speakers but I’m sure they will be here for a few minutes afterwards if people want to chat to them further. But on your behalf I think you’d want me to thank both Nikita Malik and Professor Joel Quirk for their contributions today and for giving us such an enlightening overview of the issues facing anyone trying to deal with modern slavery and human trafficking but the context also in which you placed it and the aggregation of this issue and so many other questions as well. I think all of us have been enlightened. Thank you.