Tricked and Trapped: Human Trafficking in the Middle East, International Labour Organisation (ILO) April 2013

A report of a regional research project by the ILO, which concludes that  human trafficking to the Middle East is linked to ineffective labour migration governance, which leaves migrant workers particularly vulnerable to exploitation. Its main findings on trafficking processes for migrant domestic workers are on pages 33-34. 

The isolation of domestic workers in private homes, which are not inspected by labour inspectors or social workers, and their very limited ability to move outside the household, heighten their vulnerability to exploitation. Employers justify the retention of passports and confinement in the home on the basis of the kafala system, which gives them legal responsibility for the residency and employment of their domestic workers. Their sense of entitlement over the worker is heightened by the significant cash outlay they have made to recruit him or her from another country (p 34). 

The report recommends reform of the kafala system, and the right to leave employers. 

Download and read the report here .

Beyond Borders: Human Trafficking from Nigeria to the UK, Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) January 2013

The report highlights the particular features of trafficking from Nigeria to the UK: 'Nigeria has been named by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) as one of the top eight countries of origin for human trafficking globally... Unlike trafficking from Nigeria to other European countries such as Italy or the Netherlands, sexual exploitation does not appear to be the dominant form of exploitation in the UK; instead, domestic servitude is more common. In such cases, victims are trafficked to undertake household duties such as cleaning, childcare and cooking. Working hours are long, with no formal breaks and low or no pay. As well as exploitative, victims’ experiences can be highly physically and psychologically abusive. Trafficking of this kind is hidden, often taking place in private households rather than in on-street premises or known massage parlours.' (p 4)

The report argues for a change of focus in UK policy: 'Rather than seeing trafficking as an issue primarily of migration, it needs to be understood as a wider issue of exploitation. Rather than perceiving it as an issue dominated by organised criminal networks, it must be understood as a crime often perpetrated by people known to or, in many cases, related to the victims who may otherwise live their lives in an outwardly respectable way.' (p 4).

Download and read the report here.  

ATLEU's Submissions to the Low Pay Commission in relation to the “family worker exemption” (National Minimum Wage Regulations 1999 (regulation 2(2))

ATLEU has written to the Low Pay Commission in relation to the current approach taken by courts and tribunals to the exemption from the National Minimum Wage contained in regulation 2(2) of the National Minimum Wage Regulations 1999.  

One of the consequences of Regulation 2(2) is that it has facilitated and shrouded domestic servitude. This is an undesirable position and must be addressed. ATLEU seeks a review of the exemption to ensure the protection of this vulnerable group of workers. 

As the law is currently drafted it is uncertain and hard for employers and employees to negotiate. It is also subject to challenge on the grounds that it offends against European sex discrimination law; the great majority of domestic workers are women so the exemption has a disproportionate adverse impact on one gender. 

ATLEU's position is that Regulation 2(2) is an exemption that should be construed narrowly and therefore the exception rather than the rule. Guidance on the exemption should be explicit in stating this and advise potential employers to seek advice. ATLEU seeks to restrict the application of Regulation 2(2) to those who are actually members of the employers’ family or, if the intention is to exclude those who are genuinely defined as au pairs then, Regulation 2(2) should be amended to express this and reflect the definition provided by the British Au-pairs Agencies Association.

Download and read ATLEU's report here

Access to justice and compensation for trafficked victims play a crucial role in victims' recovery.

Anti-Slavery International's report 'Opportunities and Obstacles: Ensuring access to compensation for trafficked persons in the UK' highlights the importance of assisting victims to realise their legal rights. 

Access to justice for trafficked persons is crucial to effectively combating trafficking. Next to the importance of having the sense of justice and vital acknowledgement of the violations that happened, compensation also plays a vital role in the rehabilitation of trafficked persons…The experience of support organisations shows that a financially independent and secure former victim, who has a positive and empowering experience with the justice system (be it criminal or other part of the system), is more likely to achieve recovery or to be close to recovery. (page 3)

Read the report here