Category Archives: London

Bring more traffickers to justice, UK anti-slavery chief urges

ARCHIVE PHOTO: Britain’s anti-slavery commissioner Sara Thornton poses for a picture in London, England, on August 6, 2019. Thomson Reuters Foundation/Kieran Guilbert

LONDON, – Police and prosecutors in Britain are not bringing enough human traffickers to justice, the country’s anti-slavery commissioner said on Thursday amid concerns that the coronavirus pandemic is preventing many victims from being identified or seeking help.

Modern slavery prosecutions have fallen during the last year despite a rise in police operations to combat the crime – whether labour abuse at car washes or children forced to deal drugs, said a report by Sara Thornton who took up the role in May 2019.

Thornton’s report follows criticism that Britain’s world-first 2015 Modern Slavery Act is being underused in efforts to jail traffickers, spur action from companies or help victims.

“The number of prosecutions under the Modern Slavery Act remains too low and organised crime groups continue to see the rewards as high and the risks as low,” she said in a statement.

“There needs to be scrutiny of the low number of prosecutions and convictions under the Modern Slavery Act.”

About 301 people were considered for slavery prosecutions under various laws in the 2019-20 period – down from 322 in the previous timeframe – government data shows. However, some of the defendants may have ultimately been charged with other offences.

Under the Modern Slavery Act alone, at least 67 people were prosecuted in 2019-20, against 82 in 2018-19. Yet the data does not include cases where more serious charges were also filed.

Thornton said training around modern slavery in the criminal justice system had improved recently but was still insufficient.

Police chiefs have previously cited getting victims to give evidence as a major obstacle to securing more prosecutions, and said slavery suspects were often charged for other crimes such as sexual violence as it may prove the simpler route to justice.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said its work with the police had led to more cases being referred for consideration.

“Modern slavery is an abhorrent crime and one we are tackling as hard as we can,” a spokesman said. “We continue to work (with the police) to build strong cases for prosecution.”

The National Police Chiefs Council declined to comment.

In a separate publication on Thursday, the Home Office (interior ministry) found that reports of suspected modern slavery had dropped for two consecutive quarters this year.

About 2,209 possible victims were referred to the British government for support in the second quarter of the year – down 23% from the previous three months – according to the data.

“COVID-19 has delivered unprecedented challenges in supporting victims and in many ways has increased vulnerability to exploitation,” Thornton said.

“Many are concerned that work across the world to end slavery will be knocked back years as governments prioritise building economic activity above concerns for human rights.”

A study in July said Britain was home to at least 100,000 modern slaves – 10 times more than the official estimate – and warned that 90% of victims may be going undetected.

https://news.trust.org/item/20200917151555-3xk4g/

British prison launches meal delivery service run by inmate trainees

Sea Bream made by inmates at the Clink restaurant at Brixton prison in an undated handout photograph. Paul Griffiths via Thomson Reuters Foundation

LONDON, – A British prison has launched a meal delivery service staffed by inmates as part of a charity initiative that aims to cut reoffending rates by giving prisoners a better chance of finding jobs after their release.

The Clink Charity opened a restaurant at Brixton prison in London six years ago, but the coronavirus pandemic forced it to close in March, prompting the debut of the “Clink at Home” delivery service last week.

Prisoners who are nearing the end of their sentences get on-the-job training and work towards industry-recognised qualifications. They work on a voluntary basis in exchange for the training they receive.

Christopher Moore, the Clink Charity’s chief executive, said the restaurant programme gives prisoners a vital taste of “life on the outside, on the inside”.

“Prisoners come down for eight hours a day, in an environment that doesn’t look or feel like prison, replicating a real-life working environment,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.

“They’re learning to work as part of a team, they’re gaining confidence and are motivated and proud of what they do.”

According to the Clink Charity’s 2019 report, which draws on government statistics, reoffending rates among former prisoners who were enrolled in the programme fall by up to 66%.

Those who take part in the programme leave with industry-standard certificates in food service, preparation and cookery, as well as soft skills essential to helping them readjust to life outside prison, Moore said.

The Brixton restaurant, where diners have to pre-book a table to enter the jail, is one of four similar eateries based at prisons across the country. Between them, they train about 200 prisoners at any one time.

Moore said many former trainees do go on to find jobs in the restaurant business, with several now working at four- and five-star hotels and Michelin restaurants.

Elizabeth Orr, 42, one of the programme’s first participants at a prisoner-run restaurant in Styal Prison in northwest England, is now head chef at her family-run business in Liverpool.

“I lost everything when I went to prison but the support that was given to me absolutely changed my life,” said Orr, who has been nominated to receive a local award for her contribution to helping maintain vital services during the lockdown.

“When I first came home, I was in full-time employment as a pastry chef within two weeks. It felt like a sense of normality.”

https://news.trust.org/item/20200731143614-w4n5j/

Climate change activists target London’s financial district

London
Extinction Rebellion members stage a protest calling for action on climate change, outside the Bank of England, London, UK, on October 14, 2019. HANDOUT/Vladimir Morozov/AKX Media

LONDON, (Reuters) – Climate change activists targeted London’s financial district on Monday blocking Bank junction, vowing a day of disruption for major institutions which they said were financing an environmental catastrophe.

Extinction Rebellion protesters blocked the streets around Bank in the heart of the City of London.

“The City of London is a preeminent nexus of power in the global system that is killing our world,” said Carolina Rosa, spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion.

The activists will target major financial institutions which they say are financing fossil fuel exploration and infrastructure. A mock trial of the financial sector will take place at shortly after midday.

The group, which promotes a rebellion against the political, economic and social structure of the modern world to avert the worst devastation outlined by scientists studying climate, is engaged in two weeks of civil disobedience in London.

Police said there had been more than 1,300 arrests since the protests began.

“There are currently protesters blocking roads around Bank Junction,” the City of London Police said on Twitter, which has previously warned of disruptive demonstrations on Monday.

Extinction Rebellion wants non-violent civil disobedience to force governments to cut carbon emissions and avert a climate crisis it says will bring starvation and social collapse.

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has said the financial sector must transform its management of climate risk, warning that global warming would prompt reassessments of the value of every single financial asset.

Carney has been a leading voice among regulators in warning of the risks climate change poses to the stability of the global financial system. He has led various international initiatives to improve supervision and disclosure.

“Climate disclosure must become comprehensive, climate risk management must be transformed, and sustainable investing must go mainstream,” he told a United Nations climate summit last month. (Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Michael Holden)

 

 

 

 
http://news.trust.org/item/20191014060405-ya6az/

A London college bans beef to fight climate change

8F8E5DC5-294D-404A-B92E-C595D904A71FUniversity of London’s Goldsmiths college is tackling climate change by introducing a small levy on bottled water and single-use plastics that are sold on its London campus [Henry Nicholls/Reuters]

A London college said on Monday it has banned beef from its campus to combat climate change, becoming the first higher education institution in Britain to do so.

From next month onward, Goldsmiths, part of the University of London, will no longer sell beef anywhere on its campus. It will also introduce a small levy on bottled water and single-use plastics to discourage their use.

“The growing global call for organisations to take seriously their responsibilities for halting climate change is impossible to ignore,” said Frances Corner, head of Goldsmiths.

Staff and students were “determined to help deliver the step change we need to cut our carbon footprint drastically and as quickly as possible,” Corner said.

The college said it aimed to switch to clean energy and become carbon neutral – meaning it will produce no more carbon emissions than it can offset – by 2025.

Livestock farming is a major driver of greenhouse gas emissions, consumes a tenth of the world’s freshwater and causes large-scale deforestation, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

Forests soak up heat-trapping gases from the atmosphere and deforestation can amplify global warming due to the loss of vegetation and soil erosion, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has said.

Plant-based foods and sustainable animal-sourced food could free up several million square kilometres of land by 2050 and cut 0.7 to 8.0 gigatonnes a year of carbon dioxide equivalent, the IPCC said in a major report last week.

“Declaring a climate emergency cannot be empty words … Goldsmiths now stands shoulder to shoulder with other organisations willing to call the alarm and take urgent action to cut carbon use,” said Corner.

Goldsmiths has joined a growing number of businesses and organisations to discourage meat consumption.

Last July, global office-sharing company WeWork, which operates in 22 countries, became one of the first international firms to ban staff from expensing meals that contain meat.

 

 

 

 

https://www.aljazeera.com/ajimpact/london-college-bans-beef-fight-climate-change-190812172654478.html