Laura Lee

Enquiry into trafficking in Scotland begins

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AN inquiry into sex trafficking in Scotland is asking punters who use prostitutes to talk to them - in secret.

Baroness Helena Kennedy, who is heading the probe, said men who buy sex can help build a realistic picture of the extent of the trade.

Kennedy said: "I want to hear from these men. I need to hear directly from people who have experiences of trafficking.

"I think if you want to have a proper sense of the problem, it is better to hear from witnesses themselves directly.

"It might be they are men who have used prostitutes and they have had an experience where they have been with a woman who was clearly coerced into prostitution.

"We need help to understand the scope of the problem but those who can do that are often the very people who, through shame or fear, don't want to step forward.

"We will guarantee them absolute anonymity."

The probe will focus on Scotland but will have an impact on policy across the UK. It is the most far-reaching study of trafficking in Britain.

It will look at ways in which the country can tackle the blight of trafficking, from policing and border control to how well victims are supported when they are found.

Kennedy and her team have talked to police, voluntary organisations and experts but want to widen their evidence-gathering over the coming months to punters and the victims of trafficking themselves.

The inquiry is being run by the Equality and Human Rights Commission Scotland and, although all trafficking will be covered, the emphasis will be on the women and children brought in for sex.

Police have reported an increase in the demand for foreign women from men buying sex.

She said: "Senior police officers do think that there has been a shift. Perhaps because men are travelling much more, certainly on stag weekends and buying sex abroad.

"They are experiencing sex in a more exotic way, activities that they don't participate in with their wives and partners. It becomes something that they want here."

The demand for so many different nationalities is perpetuating the horrific trade in human beings.

Kennedy said: "This is the underbelly of globalisation. The same things that make global markets work, make black markets work too.

"You get international crime now in a way that we didn't have before. Everything is marketable and sadly that includes human beings."

Kennedy, born in Glasgow, is one of the world's most respected legal brains and she has championed human rights for almost three decades.

The size of Scotland is one of the reasons for holding the inquiry here. It will be easier to get a country-wide picture because there are fewer police forces, social work departments and agencies which deal with trafficking.

Kennedy said that, contrary to speculation, the inquiry wasn't rooted in Scotland because we have a disproportionate scale of trafficking.

She said: "The truth is, we just don't know the size of the problem because this hasn't been done before. And what makes it a substantial problem?

"Fifty, 100 women? If we were talking about the sexual abuse of children, we would never consider any number acceptable. If this is happening at all and it is, we have to ask, how do we prevent it?"

She realises a truly accurate picture is virtually impossible because trafficking is a covert criminal business. She said: "This kind of human rights abuse is like a poison. Trafficking leeches into our society as a whole.

"We want to identify ways in which it is happening and ensure that weaker members of society aren't abused in this way."

A final report from the probe will be out next year.

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I emailed Baroness Kennedy over 2 months ago and asked if she would meet to discuss the sex industry in particular and I have never had a response. :eek:

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AN inquiry into sex trafficking in Scotland is asking punters who use prostitutes to talk to them - in secret.

Baroness Helena Kennedy, who is heading the probe, said men who buy sex can help build a realistic picture of the extent of the trade.

Kennedy said: "I want to hear from these men. I need to hear directly from people who have experiences of trafficking.

"I think if you want to have a proper sense of the problem, it is better to hear from witnesses themselves directly.

"It might be they are men who have used prostitutes and they have had an experience where they have been with a woman who was clearly coerced into prostitution.

"We need help to understand the scope of the problem but those who can do that are often the very people who, through shame or fear, don't want to step forward.

"We will guarantee them absolute anonymity."

The probe will focus on Scotland but will have an impact on policy across the UK. It is the most far-reaching study of trafficking in Britain.

It will look at ways in which the country can tackle the blight of trafficking, from policing and border control to how well victims are supported when they are found.

Kennedy and her team have talked to police, voluntary organisations and experts but want to widen their evidence-gathering over the coming months to punters and the victims of trafficking themselves.

The inquiry is being run by the Equality and Human Rights Commission Scotland and, although all trafficking will be covered, the emphasis will be on the women and children brought in for sex.

Police have reported an increase in the demand for foreign women from men buying sex.

She said: "Senior police officers do think that there has been a shift. Perhaps because men are travelling much more, certainly on stag weekends and buying sex abroad.

"They are experiencing sex in a more exotic way, activities that they don't participate in with their wives and partners. It becomes something that they want here."

The demand for so many different nationalities is perpetuating the horrific trade in human beings.

Kennedy said: "This is the underbelly of globalisation. The same things that make global markets work, make black markets work too.

"You get international crime now in a way that we didn't have before. Everything is marketable and sadly that includes human beings."

Kennedy, born in Glasgow, is one of the world's most respected legal brains and she has championed human rights for almost three decades.

The size of Scotland is one of the reasons for holding the inquiry here. It will be easier to get a country-wide picture because there are fewer police forces, social work departments and agencies which deal with trafficking.

Kennedy said that, contrary to speculation, the inquiry wasn't rooted in Scotland because we have a disproportionate scale of trafficking.

She said: "The truth is, we just don't know the size of the problem because this hasn't been done before. And what makes it a substantial problem?

"Fifty, 100 women? If we were talking about the sexual abuse of children, we would never consider any number acceptable. If this is happening at all and it is, we have to ask, how do we prevent it?"

She realises a truly accurate picture is virtually impossible because trafficking is a covert criminal business. She said: "This kind of human rights abuse is like a poison. Trafficking leeches into our society as a whole.

"We want to identify ways in which it is happening and ensure that weaker members of society aren't abused in this way."

A final report from the probe will be out next year.

how can they work out the size of the problem if they're only asking to hear from people who have visited women who WERE coerced?

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how can they work out the size of the problem if they're only asking to hear from people who have visited women who WERE coerced?

Quite.

Also, how can they work out the extent of the problem when they refuse to meet with activists with an inside knowledge of the workings of the industry ? I appreciate the enquiry is not just around the sex industry but even so. :eek:

I'm quite sure Elrond and some others would have been very interested to attend too.

Edited by Laura Lee
Addendum

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I emailed Baroness Kennedy over 2 months ago and asked if she would meet to discuss the sex industry in particular and I have never had a response. :eek:

It is very disappointing that she has not replied to you.

One presumes from that, and also from the brief precis you have quoted, that she is not planning to listen to indie sp's or serious academic researchers in the field either, which will weaken the robustness of the final document substantially.

I've previously held HK in good regard and find this all a bit odd. Also that it is limited to Scotland.

Who is funding it? What is their real agenda? Have they set terms of reference restricting the investigation geographically, or excluding testimony from independants or existing academic research? Any survey worth it's salt starts with a review of the literature to date, or is that not how it's done these days?

If so, I find it a bit difficult to believe that HK would accept such a narrow brief.

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It was longer than I thought actually -

from Laura Lee <laurasdelight@googlemail.com>

to info@helenakennedy.co.uk

date 18 February 2010 14:35

subject Trafficking

mailed-by googlemail.com

hide details 18 Feb

Dear Ms. Kennedy,

If you'll forgive my direct approach, my name is Laura and I am an independant Escort based in Glasgow. I have seen

fit to contact you as I understand you will be conducting an independent investigation on commercial sexual exploitation

in Scotland.

It would appear that you and I come from the same background ( to a certain extent at least ). ******* I had then, and still have now a special interest in human rights and in particular the rights of those who enter this country to work but more importantly, the rights of those who are forcibly brought to this country to work in brothels.

( As a complete aside, I am now studying ******* with a view to being able to assist those women who experience issues as a result of the sex industry, or more importantly, those who were forced into the sex industry against their will and experience distress/issues as a result of that. )

It is my wish to see the best solution for everyone, I firmly believe that outright prohibition will only lead to a further driving underground of an already relatively clandestine industry. It is my firm position that regulation and close monitoring is the way forward in combatting those who choose to abuse women and flout the law.

I should be much obliged if you would meet me for a brief discussion on what I have outlined above, that we may discuss the best way forward for ladies at every level of the industry.

Yours sincerely,

Laura Lee

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Not the best worded email ever sent, but a reply would have been nice. :eek:

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"We will guarantee them absolute anonymity."

Until a laptop is stolen/mislaid.

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Not the best worded email ever sent, but a reply would have been nice. :D

"Kennedy and her team ……………. want to widen their evidence-gathering over the coming months ……………. The truth is, we just don't know the size of the problem ………….."

Given that Kennedy has now openly asked for feedback - albeit only from punters at present - perhaps, Laura, you should send her another email, copying your first one, and see if she's prepared to put her money where her mouth is.

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Quite.

Also, how can they work out the extent of the problem when they refuse to meet with activists with an inside knowledge of the workings of the industry ? I appreciate the enquiry is not just around the sex industry but even so. :D

I'm quite sure Elrond and some others would have been very interested to attend too.

Yes indeed.

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It is very disappointing that she has not replied to you.

One presumes from that, and also from the brief precis you have quoted, that she is not planning to listen to indie sp's or serious academic researchers in the field either, which will weaken the robustness of the final document substantially.

I've previously held HK in good regard and find this all a bit odd. Also that it is limited to Scotland.

Who is funding it? What is their real agenda? Have they set terms of reference restricting the investigation geographically, or excluding testimony from independants or existing academic research? Any survey worth it's salt starts with a review of the literature to date, or is that not how it's done these days?

If so, I find it a bit difficult to believe that HK would accept such a narrow brief.

The terms of reference include the following:

To inquire into the extent and nature of human trafficking in relation to Scotland, focusing mainly but not exclusively on trafficking for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation.

To inquire into the causes of human trafficking relating to Scotland focusing especially on the role of demand for commercial sexual exploitation.

It looks like there is nothing like an accurate indication of the extent of the problem at this stage. I suspect that there may be a major contradiction between the results of Pentameter 2 in Scotland (and lack of any convictions) and claims probably made by some in the Glasgow area. Hence, the rather surprising request for punters who have "used" trafficked women and victims of trafficking to come forward.

Also, there is significant emphasis on the role of demand - which harks back to the scandinavian model and old labour ideology.

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The terms of reference include the following:

To inquire into the extent and nature of human trafficking in relation to Scotland, focusing mainly but not exclusively on trafficking for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation.

To inquire into the causes of human trafficking relating to Scotland focusing especially on the role of demand for commercial sexual exploitation.

It looks like there is nothing like an accurate indication of the extent of the problem at this stage. I suspect that there may be a major contradiction between the results of Pentameter 2 in Scotland (and lack of any convictions) and claims probably made by some in the Glasgow area. Hence, the rather surprising request for punters who have "used" trafficked women and victims of trafficking to come forward.

Also, there is significant emphasis on the role of demand - which harks back to the scandinavian model and old labour ideology.

Might they also look into c. 10000 cases of people forced into marriage per annum, 2000 of them men? I have no idea how many of these are in Scotland, but I'm sure some of them must be:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/10469935.stm

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Might they also look into c. 10000 cases of people forced into marriage per annum, 2000 of them men? I have no idea how many of these are in Scotland, but I'm sure some of them must be:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/10469935.stm

I also believe that the enquiry should be looking to talk to convicted traffickers as well as rescued victims

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I also believe that the enquiry should be looking to talk to convicted traffickers as well as rescued victims

I understand that there have been no convictions for sex trafficking in Scotland for at least for the last six years.

It would probably also be very interesting to find out the number of victims of sex trafficking rescued in Scotland over the same period and which definition of trafficking is used to define them.

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I understand that there have been no convictions for sex trafficking in Scotland for at least for the last six years.

It would probably also be very interesting to find out the number of victims of sex trafficking rescued in Scotland over the same period and which definition of trafficking is used to define them.

There was a case of trafficking reported in the newspapers last year which happened in Aberdeen, and if I remember correctly a Norwegian female was handed out a prison sentence for her part in it. The girl who I think was Vietnamese had been rescued by a client.

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... the appalling Ms Godman MSP ...

Funny that she does not seem to think that the law on city slickers making a (very) fast buck in circumstances that they at least know are on the borderline of criminal, if not over it, should be tightened .....

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From her entry on the Scottish Parliament's web site:

Before I became an MSP I had a variety of jobs. After leaving school at 15 I worked with a charity for some time, as a waitress, in a bar, insurance collector, house mother in a list 'D' school. I then managed to get on to a change of career course at Jordanhill College and qualified as a social worker. I worked in the East End of Glasgow mostly trying to help alcohol and drug addicts. I have three sons, brought up by myself as a single mother and six grandchildren!

Because of my background I am interested in what the Parliament can do to help those who suffer mental illness, alcohol and drug addiction those who are faced with bringing up children on their own and those in debt. I have a total commitment to issues of equality and fairness.

My biographical details give a picture of personal interests. I do enjoy growing all my own vegetables, soft fruit and flowers. At the allotment there is no phone or fax - bliss! There's lots more to be done on the home front as well as internationally. I believe in the Parliament and the people of Scotland, together we can change things.

Just an idea! Should the WGs here not each send her a birthday card, with a friendly message in it?

Date of Birth: 31 October 1939 Family Information: Married

Interesting that she first brings up three as a single mother, then (presumably) gets married! I note also that she is 71 this year - what chance that Scottish Labour will retire her (or the grim reaper sweep her away)?

One of the three children that she brought up as single mother (one can be an accident, which could happen to any of us, but three looks to me like recklessness) turned into the London City wide boy, Gary Mulgrew who is one of the "Nat West Three" handed over to the USA by Tony Blair's team, to curry favour, and let Uncle Sam have a sacrificial victim for the Enron Scandal.

Just an idea! Should the WGs among us not each send the lady a birthday card, with a friendly message?

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For anyone who hasn't read it yet, the link to the report is here.

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Thank you for the link LL: quite a dull report, lacked quality data, and the recommendations were quite watery, essentially aimed at establishing a multi-agency force to ensure traffickers were prosecuted ( can't argue with that ) and to educate on how to identify traffickers and their victimes.

An example of a claim which was unreferenced and unproven: 'Human trafficking is substantially

concerned with sex but by no means exclusively. ' - but there wasn't data to compare to those trafficked for forced labour or domestic servitude, so this claim is speculation.

An example of a claim which was referenced and proven - there has been one successful prosecution for trafficking in Scotland. Yes, one. I suspect there have been more prosecutions for singing the wrong type of song at a football match but what do I know

An example of a claim which was unreferenced and unproven: 'Scotland produces some of the best soft

fruit in the world' - now that I agree with, having had unbelievable juicy fife strawbs in early june, but objectively speaking it's another claim which shouldn't have been in there as it's just opinion ( although as said I happen to share it ).

Overall not impressed, 3/10, but glad there were no recommendations that would stop people carrying on having paid fun, if they consent to of course.

Edited by bongo

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Baroness Kennedy made it clear at the outset that banning prostitution was not to be included in her recommendations as in her view it would be unworkable in both law and in practice.

Although challenging demand is covered in a broad sense, I can find no specific reference to it in terms of its application to sex trafficking. I find this surprising. I would have expected there to have been some reference to "Strict Liability" legislation [i.e. where someone can be found guilty of an offence without having knowledge of, or even having any idea that the law was being broken by them by entering into an agreement and promising to make a payment for a sexual service from somebody they believed to be a consenting party.]

Perhaps Scotland should now take this opportunity to consider means of diverting demand from trafficked sex workers to those willingly engaged in the industry, especially as it is impossible to ban prostitution and, for that matter, eliminate demand for it. The failed "strict liability" experiment should be kicked into touch as soon as possible.

Edited by Dancer

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The radfems have their own infuence and power in Scotland, not to mention their tendrils are latching on to many areas of policy which they are slowly changing. There'll be a new push before long to introduce the Swedish Model here, or something worse. Judging by what's happening in Inverness, Glasgow and the statement made by Grampian poice, coupled with the future introduction of a new single police force (I'm lead to believe all indoor prostitution will be covered by a single organised crime unit), there is backing from certain quarters to try and disrupt sex work as much as possible.

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