March 20, 2013, Doha – In its quest to support important local and international research endeavours that impact the family as a whole, the Doha International Institute for Family Studies and Development (DIIFSD) has co-funded a prominent report by The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) in the United Kingdom.
The global issue calls for widespread reforms and legislation
The report, entitled 'It Happens Here', brought to light the prevalence of modern day slavery and human trafficking in the UK.
Launched last week at an event that drew over 200 people and received widespread coverage across the UK media, the report revealed a litany of cases where adults and children are trafficked into and within the UK and subjected to forced labour, sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, and forced criminality (which includes benefit fraud, forced begging or pick-pocketing and drug cultivation). Amongst other findings, the report highlighted that more than 1,000 trafficking victims were found in 2012 in the UK, including a significant number of British children.
Citing widespread ignorance among police, social workers, and immigration officers about the scale and nature of human trafficking in today’s modern world, the report presented a strong case of the urgency for authorities to start recognizing these problems as criminal matters and not ones of immigration control. In addition, the report called for a new Modern Slavery Act to bring all human trafficking and modern day slavery offences together to ensure that victims do not face the threat of prosecution and are encouraged to report abuse and seek help from welfare agencies.
“Although the report focuses on findings in the UK, the issues of modern day slavery and human trafficking have become an escalating global debate. These occurrences are worldwide. Progressing nations must therefore accept their collective responsibility to help uncover, document and report these occurrences in a transparent and factual manner”, said Noor Al Malki Al Jehani, Executive Director of DIIFSD.
Qatar now has its own initiatives on addressing the issues of human trafficking and modern day slavery, and the fact that DIIFSD has played such a key role in helping to create such an outstanding report is a testament to the country’s commitment to addressing this burgeoning global matter. The CSJ publicly praised DIIFSD for its contributions to supporting the development of such an important report.
In 2011, Qatar passed its own anti-human trafficking law designed to protect vulnerable segments of the population, including women, children and migrant workers. It covers forced labour, forced prostitution, sexual exploitation, child abuse, kidnapping and falsely luring someone into the country for the purpose of exploitation and enslavement. The law also applies to members of organised gangs as well as companies that are found involved in transferring and harbouring victims from one country to another for the purpose of human trafficking and exploitation.
The Ministry of Justice has since put in place modern and advanced systems through which it can control security issues relating to human trafficking and modern day slavery. In addition to legislative intervention, the country has also taken a range of measures on a practical level such as the ban on using children in camel racing, as well as stepping up efforts to curb the inhumane treatment of foreign maids and labourers.
The report by CSJ will have significant influence worldwide as it provides provoking data and clear calls for action. It forms an impressive guideline, which can be emulated by other countries that are committed to uncovering the true state of modern day slavery and human trafficking.
DIIFSD has in the past supported other important reports at an international level, including another one by the CSJ which focused on mental health and its impact at a population, community, family and individual level.