rope and chain

Portsmouth researchers join a discussion to shape discourse and influence policy

  • 04 October 2019
  • 4 min read

The University of Portsmouth along with the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy and Taiwan-Asia Exchange Foundation funded a Chatham House Roundtable on combatting human trafficking in East Asia that took place in Taipei, Taiwan on 16 September 2019. 

Modern slavery is a huge problem, claiming an estimated 40.3 milion victims worldwide (according to the International Labour Organization). The issue is particularly prevalent in the Asia-Pacific region, where in 2017, four out of every 1000 people were found to be victims of forced labour and labour trafficking. 

University of Portsmouth researchers: Dr Isabelle Cheng  (School of Area Studies, History, Politics and Literature) and Dr Bonny Ling (Associate Researcher with the Democratic Citizenships Theme) co-organised the roundtable event that brought academics and practitioners together in order to examine the regional situation of labour trafficking. The discussion concerned elements of an effective anti-trafficking strategy, such as the ethical recruitment of migrant workers for a more responsible model of economic development. 

This roundtable is a timely examination of human trafficking in East Asia against the dominant discourse disseminated by the US Trafficking in Person Reports. Combining activism and scholarship, this roundtable brings to the fore domestic context, legal framework and privates sector in order to identify best practices to combat human trafficking

Dr Isabelle Cheng, School of Area Studies, History, Politics and Literature

By focusing on the worst forms of labour exploitation of human trafficking, often faced by migrant workers across the region, the discussion is a timely examination of how migrant workers’ social exclusion challenges the fundamental pillars of democratic citizenship based on equality of access and participation.

This special collaboration with Chatham House Asia-Pacific Programme in London and local partners in Taiwan is hopefully one of many similar events in the future, as we seek to convene forums to bring together different expertise in anti-trafficking in the region. Our aim is for anti-trafficking to be grounded in accurate scholarship and best practices on the ground, all towards the goal of leading to concrete changes in the employment conditions of migrant workers.

Dr Bonny Ling, Associate Researcher

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