Human trafficking is a damning blight on modern society, difficult to combat because – by its nature – it takes place behind closed doors. It intersects with different administrative areas, and effective policy entails success in each sphere. Our project focuses in particular on the intersection between human trafficking and immigration law. We are concerned that anti- immigration rhetoric may have a negative effect on fighting human trafficking, because many trafficking victims may be treated as immigration cases by the authorities to show that they are being tough on migrants. This report focuses on the experiences of human trafficking victims who have come to the UK as documented or undocumented migrants, or as asylum seekers.
In May 2014, OxPolicy ran a research project investigating these issues, culminating in a event, consisting of a panel discussion. Speakers included Catherine Bearder, MEP for South East England; Vicky Brotherton, Coordinator of the Anti Trafficking Monitoring Group; and Dorcas Erskine, National Coordinator of the Poppy Project & Eaves for Women.
This paper was written by a team of Oxford University students, to whom we owe much gratitude: Verity Bell, Declan Davis, Jian Hoh, Alys Preece, Rhiannon Rees, Anaum Riaz, Brandon Tensley, Jasmine Theilgaard, Frances Thompson, and Florina Lanqiao Wang. Particular thanks go to our graduate research mentors Evan Elise Easton-Calabria, Owain Johnstone, and Rachel Wechsler. Operational support was provided by committee members Hannah Coates, Theophilus Kwek and Natasha Stotesbury. The report was edited by Charles Bishop, Evan Elise Easton-Calabria, Melissa Fich and Theophilus Kwek.
In addition, we thank the Oxford Hub for their continued support of OxPolicy, and the Junior Common Room of Merton College, Oxford, for their generous sponsorship.