UK government ‘misleading public’ about modern slavery, new research claims

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Experts from the University of Manchester have claimed that the government is misleading the public by claiming that modern slavery can be eradicated by toughening up border controls and extending sentence lengths for offenders.

Modern slavery refers broadly to crimes of exploitation—usually committed for commercial gain—and includes , domestic servitude, labor exploitation and “county lines” drug trafficking.

For much of the last decade, the government has claimed that modern slavery is hiding in —everywhere, yet imperceptible—and requires the most urgent of action. Ministers committed to ramp up the so-called “hostile environment” to tackle something they implied was perpetrated by foreign criminals who were orchestrating international organized crime networks and making vast sums of money.

However, that same hostile environment has made undocumented migrant workers’ lives much more precarious, as they are the people who are most prone to exploitation by criminals—they have little choice but to work “cash-in-hand” in the gray economy.

Researchers from the University of Manchester wanted to find out who these modern slavery offenders are, how their situations led to them becoming tangled up in criminality, and what might be done to reduce the prevalence of such exploitation. They were able to conduct interviews with 30 offenders who had been convicted of modern slavery offenses in the UK, 16 of whom were British citizens.






Credit: University of Manchester

They found that many of the people they spoke to had long histories of trauma, migration and victimization which had led them into exploitative relationships, debts and dependencies. These situations had ultimately caused them to become involved in the exploitation of others. Others had worked in legitimate businesses and had never been involved in crime before.

Many had escaped dire situations themselves and were trying to raise money to send to their families in countries with few where poverty and instability are rife. All but one of the women had dependent children or elderly relatives who they supported financially.

Some participants had helped smuggle people into the UK; for some this was unintentional, and others had done it as a favor to friends. A couple did it to make “easy money,” but those participants—both of whom were white British nationals—had lengthier criminal histories and were the exception amongst the interviewees.

The researchers claim that many of the causes of modern slavery could be alleviated by providing a more hospitable environment for new arrivals. They say that if people are able to work for at least a legal minimum wage and aren’t so afraid of deportation that they can’t speak to , if they know their rights and if they can access decent housing and healthcare, they would not become reliant on favors from people operating outside the law.

“Our research has shown that we are deceiving ourselves by thinking that modern slavery can be eradicated by toughening up and extending sentence lengths for convicted offenders. Instead, we need to face up to the complexities that lead to some people being convicted of people trafficking and smuggling offenses. We need to ask why these kinds of exploitation are persisting, despite a decade of efforts to out-police modern slavery,” says Senior Criminology Lecturer Dr. Rose Broad.

“Recognizing the rights of children, migrants and sex workers would protect many from the horrors of ,” said Professor of Criminology David Gadd. “The perpetrators often come from these vulnerable groups as well, but they are not a homogenous group. Their motives for exploiting others are varied, and can even be morally comprehensible if one pays attention to the complexity of the difficulties they have faced throughout their lives. Their stories can reveal unpalatable truths about the world we live in.”

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UK government ‘misleading public’ about modern slavery, new research claims (2022, November 23)
retrieved 23 November 2022
from https://phys.org/news/2022-11-uk-modern-slavery.html

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Peru government says oil spill twice as big as previously thought

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Peruvian soldiers help clean up one of around 20 beaches affected by the oil spill blamed on Spanish energy giant Repsol.

The oil spill off the coast of Peru sparked by a volcanic eruption thousands of miles away is twice as big as previously reported, the government said Friday.

The announcement came hours after a court banned four directors from the Spanish oil company Repsol, which owns the refinery where the accident took place, from leaving the country for 18 months.

Environment Minister Ruben Ramirez told reporters the country has “a figure so far of 11,900 barrels” dumped into the sea on January 15, instead of the 6,000 reported earlier.

Repsol confirmed that the figure was higher, but gave a slightly lower estimate than the minister.

The spill, described as an “ecological disaster” by the Peruvian government, happened when an Italian-flagged tanker, the Mare Doricum, was unloading oil at the La Pampilla refinery, just off Peru’s coast around 30 kilometers (19 miles) north of Lima.

Repsol said the tanker was hit by freak waves triggered by a tsunami after a massive near Tonga, more than 10,000 kilometers away.

The oil slick has been dragged by ocean currents about 140 kilometers north of the refinery, prosecutors said, causing the death of an undetermined number of fish and seabirds.

In addition, it left hundreds of local fishermen unable to take their boats out. They have staged protests against the Spanish company.

Crude oil washes ashore on Peru’s Chacra y Mar beach on January 27, 2022 from a spill that occurred at a nearby refinery following a volcano in Tonga.

Deputy Environment Minister Alfredo Mamani said that 4,225 barrels of oil had been recovered from the sea and some 20 beaches, just over a third of the total.

For its part, Repsol said in a statement in Lima that “the amount of oil spilled is 10,396 barrels and 35 percent of that has already been recovered.”

Earlier Friday, Judge Romualdo Aguedo granted the prosecution’s request to prevent the four executives, including Repsol Peru’s Spanish president Jaime Fernandez-Cuesta Luca de Tena, from leaving the country, as investigators look into the catastrophic oil spill.

Peru has demanded compensation from Repsol, and the energy giant faces a potential $34.5 million fine, the Environment Ministry has said.

The Mare Doricum is anchored with a ban on setting sail.

Fernandez-Cuesta Luca de Tena is accused of being responsible for the crime of “ to the detriment of the state,” with the three other executives considered “accomplices.”

If found guilty, Repsol’s president faces a potential prison sentence of four to six years.

In Madrid, the oil company pledged to “fully cooperate with any , as we are already doing with the ongoing preliminary investigation,” Repsol said in an email to AFP.

“Our main concern is cleaning up the environment. Repsol is putting all its efforts into cleaning up as quickly as possible,” the company added.



© 2022 AFP

Citation:
Peru government says oil spill twice as big as previously thought (2022, January 29)
retrieved 30 January 2022
from https://phys.org/news/2022-01-peru-oil-big-previously-thought.html

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part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

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