7 March 2013 - Joint Seminar: Prof. Jean Allain (QUB) and Dr. Jennifer Hamilton (UU)

Human Trafficking: Does Slavery Exist Today & Forced Labour and the Mushroom Industry in Northern Ireland

Prof. Jean Allain (QUB): Human Trafficking: Does Slavery Exist Today This seminar will consider legal issues surrounding human trafficking. Consideration will be given to the definition of trafficking, with an emphasis given to types of exploitation (slavery, servitude, forced labour, exploitation of prostitution) enumerated in the UN and European Conventions and in the 2011 EU Directive. This will set the foundation for an examination of legislation in Northern Ireland (as well as in the United Kingdom) which is unique, in that it effectively equates prostitutes with human trafficking. What implications does this have on issues of extraterritorial application of Stormont legislation in countries where prostitution is legal.

Dr. Jennifer Hamilton (UU): Forced Labour and the Mushroom Industry in Northern Ireland This seminar will examine the mushroom industry in Northern Ireland and discuss the issue of forced labour within the sector. The agricultural sector in the UK is characterised by a declining local or ‘primary’ labour market and an increasing temporary secondary market. The mushroom industry in general is characterised by intensive use of migrant labour in European and US contexts. In addition, there is a long history of significant concerns raised about working conditions and health impacts on workers in the industry, such as long working hours, poor housing, low wages, unsafe working conditions, abuse and isolation. This research investigated the extent of abuse of workers’ rights in the mushroom industry in Northern Ireland and the seminar will discuss the findings including exploitation and unlawful practices. Forced labour is closely associated with human trafficking, an issue which has become more prominent in Northern Ireland.

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