Thursday, Feb 29, 2024 | Last Update : 10:56 AM IST

  Opinion   Columnists  31 Jul 2021  Heartless in UK: Do all victims of trafficking pose a security threat?

Heartless in UK: Do all victims of trafficking pose a security threat?

In his words: "I am just a professional writer, which means I don't do blogs and try and get money for whatever I write."
Published : Jul 31, 2021, 6:57 am IST
Updated : Jul 31, 2021, 6:58 am IST

The Modern Slavery Act, in line with international legal agreements, extends the State’s protection to all victims of trafficking


“There was a place, a distant shore

Distinct in my memory

But when I ask where it may be

The answer comes… ‘it is no more’.

There was a maiden, I’m sure because

She stands in dream’s idolatry

But when I ask who the hell is she

The answer comes, ‘she never was’.”

From Kabhi Kabhi Merey Ghar Mey Polees Aa Jaatha Hai, by Bachchoo


In my school in Pune all those decades ago, we were given small handwriting books to improve or perfect -- yes, you got it -- our handwriting. On the top of each page in bold black letters, in joint flowing hand, was an adage or proverb. The next line had the same in dotted outline, which we were supposed to follow with our pens or pencils, tracing the letters along the template. The next three lines were blank and we victims -- sorry, pupils -- had to reproduce the above words as best we could in copied, running hand.

The exercise hasn’t resulted in my having a decent or even legible writing style, but I certainly remember the adages and proverbs. “A stitch in time saves nine”, “look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves”; “Pride comes before a fall” – etc, etc.

Gentle reader, I am sure I am reproducing these from different recesses of my memory, but some were certainly from the handwriting books.

I suppose these instruments of instruction, these handwriting books originated from and were used in Britain at the time and before. I don’t know if their use persisted and the generation of, let’s say someone called Priti Clueless, immigrant children of the 1970s, were made to improve their calligraphy through them. Uncertainty prevails and I refuse to do any research into the persistence of these enemies of individual lexicographic expression.

What I can confidently surmise is that our present (at the time of writing, I don’t know what BoJo will decide for her tomorrow!) home secretary in Great Britain is certainly acquainted with the English saying: “Every little helps!”

I assert this with confidence, gentle reader, because this government, of which she is an illustrious, blundering part, got itself elected on the slogan “Get Brexit Done!” To the vast majority of those who voted for them this simply meant “Keep Johnny Foreigner Out and Screw (substitute unacceptable word) the economic and moral consequences”.

Having scored on this account, this government has to maintain the stance.

Consider this: An organisation called REPRIEVE estimates that there are 20 women and 35 children of British origin with claims to British citizenship stranded and rotting in Kurdish prisoner of war camps in north-eastern Syria. Two-thirds of these women and all the children are, by any definition, victims of trafficking. The women were all transported by husbands, fathers, uncles, male relatives or professional death-cultists to Syria and Iraq to serve, sexually and otherwise, the maniacs of the “Islamic State”, otherwise known as ISIS.

For instance, among these 20 women is one teenager who was taken to Syria by a male relative when she was 12 years old. She was handed over to ISIS and was repeatedly raped, forced into “marriage” by the age of 14 and had her first child, the result of a rape, at the age of 15.

International law requires the victims of trafficking to be treated under a “non-punishment principle”. If a grown male adult in, say, Bradford, decides that he wants to join the death cult, go to Syria and behead a few captured white innocents and post videos of these murders on the Internet, then he perhaps can’t be considered a victim of trafficking. Priti Clueless would be perfectly justified in letting him back into the UK, having him arrested on arrival and subject him to legal procedures in order to make him pay for his crimes.

The victims of trafficking deserve different consideration. Clueless wants to make political capital out of their misery. The government has introduced a bill in the House of Commons called the Nationality and Borders Bill, which has now passed its second reading and will soon be law. The Modern Slavery Act, already on the statute book, in line with international legal agreements, extends the State’s protection to all victims of trafficking. This National and Borders Bill seeks, under Priti Clueless’s home office, to deny these victims the status of trafficked slaves by deeming them a threat to Britain’s national security.

These women and the poor children, now confined for months to the ISIS camps, have been deemed by several organisations to be certified victims of trafficking. They didn’t get here through any “jihadist” intent, loyalty to ISIS or a desire to be sexual and labouring slaves.

But Clueless will announce through her publicity outlets, with the support of right-wing journalists, that she has kept maybe 13 women and 35 children, all British citizens, out of the country as they could threaten its security. We are not talking of a million people crossing the borders. Check the numbers in this paragraph. Clueless calculates that every little bit counts. What a triumph! What a huge shame!

And there’s her initiative against the illegal asylum seekers coming across the English Channel with 80 people to a dingy designed for eight, with inflated bicycle tubes around their waists as insurance against drowning. Clueless says that they should be sent, like Napoleon in exile, to St. Helena or some other island.

Tags: anti human trafficking, islamic state of iraq and syria (isis), victims of trafficking, reprieve, modern slavery act