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An analysis of first responders’ experiences of human trafficking policy in England

An analysis of first responders’ experiences of human trafficking policy in England
An analysis of first responders’ experiences of human trafficking policy in England
The last decade has seen an increased interest in combating human trafficking, with the implementation of numerous international, national and local anti-trafficking policies, largely promoting the adoption of a victim-centred approach in responding to the crime. Despite the ongoing development in rhetoric towards prioritising safeguarding the victims’ welfare, the issue of human trafficking through the lens of those practitioners responsible for implementing such measures remains relatively under-researched. Aiming to address this gap, this study provides an overview of how relevant practitioners experience acknowledge current practices of identification and support for adult victims of trafficking in England in terms of policy and practice. To accomplish this goal more effectively, the study examines international and national anti-trafficking policies, analysing the promoted approach through examining how these expectations materialise in practice. Accordingly, this research included data from 27 semi-structured interviews with relevant practitioners from governmental and non-governmental agencies with responsibilities for identifying and/or supporting victims of trafficking in England in order to assess their understanding of those measures and their application. This study has highlighted how anti-trafficking efforts to identify and support trafficked persons in England are currently challenged by the relevant policies and processes, due to a lack of clarity and resources. The argument developed in this thesis is that the implications of gaps in policy responding to the crime are that it both legitimises inconsistent actions from different groups of practitioners that impedes guarantees of safeguarding victims’ welfare being a priority. This limits the extent of their compliance with the aims of the UK Government’s anti-trafficking strategy as informed by ratified international anti-trafficking conventions. It has been argued that current measures for victims to access support are subjugated to an extent to migration and crime-control issues, which jeopardises the UK Government’s emphasis on guaranteeing the victims’ start of a recovery from exploitation as underpinned by the UK National Referral Mechanism (UK NRM). Findings from this study reinforce the importance of understanding how the disregard of victims’ circumstances and needs are currently posing barriers of support access while triggering further elements of stress, vulnerability and dependency. This restricts their ability to seek support in order to recover from their exploitation whilst exposing them to further risks. This thesis provides an original contribution to the general debate surrounding human trafficking policy and practice by discussing how current anti-trafficking actions on identification and support of victims do not meet the expectations raised by rhetoric. Discussion of the findings have unpicked certain iv implications of current policy and practice as well as including some recommendations and considerations for future research.
University of Southampton
Fuentes Cano, Ana Maria
c206cc84-caff-440f-a5e2-557e92fa6ecb
Fuentes Cano, Ana Maria
c206cc84-caff-440f-a5e2-557e92fa6ecb

Fuentes Cano, Ana Maria (2020) An analysis of first responders’ experiences of human trafficking policy in England. Doctoral Thesis, 195pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

The last decade has seen an increased interest in combating human trafficking, with the implementation of numerous international, national and local anti-trafficking policies, largely promoting the adoption of a victim-centred approach in responding to the crime. Despite the ongoing development in rhetoric towards prioritising safeguarding the victims’ welfare, the issue of human trafficking through the lens of those practitioners responsible for implementing such measures remains relatively under-researched. Aiming to address this gap, this study provides an overview of how relevant practitioners experience acknowledge current practices of identification and support for adult victims of trafficking in England in terms of policy and practice. To accomplish this goal more effectively, the study examines international and national anti-trafficking policies, analysing the promoted approach through examining how these expectations materialise in practice. Accordingly, this research included data from 27 semi-structured interviews with relevant practitioners from governmental and non-governmental agencies with responsibilities for identifying and/or supporting victims of trafficking in England in order to assess their understanding of those measures and their application. This study has highlighted how anti-trafficking efforts to identify and support trafficked persons in England are currently challenged by the relevant policies and processes, due to a lack of clarity and resources. The argument developed in this thesis is that the implications of gaps in policy responding to the crime are that it both legitimises inconsistent actions from different groups of practitioners that impedes guarantees of safeguarding victims’ welfare being a priority. This limits the extent of their compliance with the aims of the UK Government’s anti-trafficking strategy as informed by ratified international anti-trafficking conventions. It has been argued that current measures for victims to access support are subjugated to an extent to migration and crime-control issues, which jeopardises the UK Government’s emphasis on guaranteeing the victims’ start of a recovery from exploitation as underpinned by the UK National Referral Mechanism (UK NRM). Findings from this study reinforce the importance of understanding how the disregard of victims’ circumstances and needs are currently posing barriers of support access while triggering further elements of stress, vulnerability and dependency. This restricts their ability to seek support in order to recover from their exploitation whilst exposing them to further risks. This thesis provides an original contribution to the general debate surrounding human trafficking policy and practice by discussing how current anti-trafficking actions on identification and support of victims do not meet the expectations raised by rhetoric. Discussion of the findings have unpicked certain iv implications of current policy and practice as well as including some recommendations and considerations for future research.

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PhDThesisAnaM.FuentesCano_An analysis of First Responders’ Experiences of Human Trafficking Policy in England
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Available under License University of Southampton Thesis Licence.
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More information

Published date: March 2020

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 448257
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/448257
PURE UUID: 2cab475f-4e90-430d-bf43-e31e1fdce226
ORCID for Ana Maria Fuentes Cano: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-4753-0995

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 16 Apr 2021 16:31
Last modified: 17 Apr 2021 01:53

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Contributors

Author: Ana Maria Fuentes Cano ORCID iD

University divisions

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