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Legal issues affecting victims of trafficking: A chicken catcher’s journey

Ahead of the event, Legal issues affecting victims of trafficking: A chicken catcher’s journey, being held on Wednesday 2 December 2015 as part of the Law Society’s Human Rights in Collaboration Programme, Emily Soothill and Katharina Theil give an overview of the event and speakers 

Laurynas Kelpsa, photo courtesy of the Guardian
Katharina works in the international sexual abuse and labour exploitation claims team. She has a particular interest in corporate accountability.
Event details:

Legal issues affecting victims of trafficking:  A chicken catcher’s journey

Wednesday 2 December 2015 
6:00pm - 7.30pm
Garden Court Chambers

Victims and survivors of trafficking face a myriad of issues, not only as a direct result of their exploitation as domestic workers, labourers, or sex workers, but also after liberation and in their pursuit of redress.

The landmark case of Antanas Galdikas and Others v DJ Houghton Catching Services Limited and Others will serve as a case study, and provide context to the discussion at the event, as the first case of its kind in which a British company has been taken to the High Court by victims of trafficking and modern slavery seeking compensation for their alleged abuse and mistreatment.

The survivors, represented by the trafficking team at Leigh Day, led by Shanta Martin, allege several forms of mistreatment, including the unlawful deduction of wages, harassment and physical abuse.

Following their escape, a number of the claimants have also faced significant difficulties, including the loss of benefits and imminent homelessness, due to the withdrawal of support from UK authorities.

The multi-disciplinary panel at the event, taking place on Wednesday 2nd December, will be sharing their perspectives on the issues which arise at the different stages of a victim of human trafficking’s journey.

It is important to consider the push factors which drive individuals to take increased risks and make them more vulnerable to trafficking.

Simon Cox, migration lawyer for the Open Society Justice Initiative, will highlight the puzzling contribution that law enforcement often plays in pushing individuals into exploitation and how state and civil society practice must change to reduce exploiters’ opportunities and empower victims.

The period immediately following a victim of trafficking’s escape can be a particularly difficult time.

Prior to formal recognition by the UK authorities which enables access to support services, survivors are often entirely dependent on first responders and other third parties.

Catherine Kenny, community advocate for Kalayaan, will provide insights into her experience of working with survivors at this stage.

It is essential that victims of trafficking have access to the best legal advice in order to negotiate the protective framework and enforce their rights; for instance, by obtaining status in the UK or securing appropriate housing and support.

Shu Shin Luh, Barrister at Garden Court Chambers, and Catherine Meredith, Barrister at Doughty Street Chambers will discuss the public law remedies which are available to victims of trafficking.

Many victims of trafficking are not aware that they can also use the law to seek compensation for the wrongs that they have suffered.

As well as holding to account the trafficker or those individuals or companies who are responsible for, and profited from, their exploitation, obtaining compensation can help rebuild lives: enabling access to education, training, medical treatment and therapy.

Shanta Martin will discuss the availability of the private law remedies for victims of trafficking.

The event will be chaired by Emma Jones, a senior solicitor at Leigh Day.

The event is being held as part of the Law Society’s Human Rights in Collaboration Programme. It will be looking at several stages of the journey taken by victims of human trafficking and the legal challenges which arise in accessing the help that they need.

We hope that it will encourage dialogue and help create new connections between those working to alleviate the plight of victims of trafficking in the UK and overseas.

The event is free of charge but spaces are limited and will be allocated on a first-come first-serve basis.

To secure your place, please email marketing@leighday.co.uk 

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