Archive for migrant

Cafe & Film Night – 21st February

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on Friday, 19 February, 2010 by bristolnoborders

Bristol No Borders takes its turn in hosting the Sunday vegan cafe at Kebele social centre (14 Robertson Rd, Easton BS5 6JY)

As well as a delicious vegan meal and an opportunity to hang out socially, we’ll be film screening….

From about 6pm – set vegan meal, for a requested donation of 2 quid. All proceeds to cover costs of meal and pay the bills at Kebele social centre.

From 7.45pm – film screening of “Unveiled” (Fremde Haut)

In her feature film Unveiled (Fremde Haut /2005), currently banned in Iran, Angelina Maccarone tells the story of an asylum seeker in Germany without any of the usual clichés. It describes the fate of a young lesbian from Iran who has managed to flee to Germany after her love affair with a married woman is discovered. In Germany she takes on the identity of an Iranian man, who was also trying to escape, and falls in love while working in the Swabian backwoods of southern Germany.

It is not just a personal drama, but also a glimpse of the reality for asylum-seekers in Germany – reception centres, never-ending interviews and transition camps.

Bristol No Borders Winter Do! – Food and Films

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on Saturday, 5 December, 2009 by bristolnoborders

As the days get shorter and the wind gets stronger ……..

Bristol No Borders takes its turn in hosting the Sunday vegan cafe at Kebele social centre

Sunday 6th November @ Kebele, 14 Robertson Rd, Easton BS5 6JY

As well as a delicious vegan roast dinner, something to wash it down with, and an opportunity to hang out socially, we’ll be film screening….

From about 6pm – set vegan meal, for a requested donation of 2 quid. All proceeds to cover costs of meal and pay the bills at kebele social centre.

From 7.30pm – “In This World” (2002) – Pashtu/Farsi with English subtitles.

This intimate, yet hard-hitting, response to mainstream UK immigration debates follows two Afghan teenagers as they escape from the Shamshatoo refugee camp in Pakistan, along the smugglers’ route known as The Silk Road.

Travelling through Iran, Turkey, Italy, and France, Jamal and his cousin Enayatullah embark on a desperate journey to freedom. Short on money, lacking proper papers, and forced to travel in trucks, lorries, and shipping containers.

Shot on digital video, “In This World” is styled as a fictional documentary, using voiceover narration and real characters and locations (including the infamous Sangatte camp). The predominantly improvised script creates a powerful piece of guerrilla filmmaking, with two engrossing performances from the non-professional leads.

More Evidence That “Sex Trafficking” is A Myth

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on Thursday, 30 April, 2009 by bristolnoborders

By Nathalie Rothschild From Spiked Magazine

At the beginning of April, just days before the European Convention on Action against Human Trafficking came into force in Britain, academics, sex workers and activists from around the world took part in a five-day ‘Sex Workers’ Open University’ in east London.

On the first day of film screenings, workshops and discussions on issues related to the sex industry, trafficking was a recurring theme. Participants were keen to debunk the myths of global ‘people smuggling’ and forced prostitution. The head of the Danish Sex Workers’ Interests Organisation claimed that ‘very few who work in the sex industry have been trafficked’.

Nick Mai, a senior research fellow in Migrations and Immigrations at London Metropolitan University, asserted that, although anti-trafficking legislation is rolled out in the name of protecting migrants and women, it ultimately amounts to ‘anti-migration legislation’.

A representative from the British Collective of Prostitutes said anti-trafficking campaigners ‘use inflated figures and exploit public concern’ to push through legislation. Indeed, even as EU member states join forces to combat human trafficking, evidence for its existence is disintegrating. A major police investigation into prostitution in Ireland has failed to find any evidence of organised trafficking there. ‘Despite recent claims about large-scale organised trafficking of women and even children to this country’, the Irish Sunday Independent reported last week, ‘the detectives found only two cases where it may have occurred, but they also had doubts after the women involved changed their stories’ (1). Irish police concluded that most of the young foreign women working within the sex industry in Ireland are doing so voluntarily. Perhaps they are motivated by the high pay – prostitutes in Ireland apparently earn between €500 and €600 per day, on average.

Embarrasingly, these police findings seem to contest research published just days earlier by Irish anti-trafficking campaigners. They claimed to have identified 102 women and girls as having been trafficked into Ireland for the sex industry over a 21-month period. Many of these women had indeed experienced unacceptable abuse and violence as part of their sometimes dangerous work. But the Irish campaigners used dubious methods to reach the conclusion that the foreign women and girls were ‘trafficking victims’ and were ‘just the tip of the iceberg’. They used a broad UN definition of trafficking, which completely discounts any notion of consent as ‘irrelevant’ since ‘the vast majority of people trafficked for prostitution see little or no viable alternative at the time’ (2). It is not only in Ireland where claims around organised trafficking and modern-day slavery have turned out to be myths. In the run-up to the 2006 World Cup in Germany, left- and right-wing politicians, Christians and feminists formed an unholy cross-border alliance in an attempt to stop 40,000 ‘sex slaves’ from being forced in to Germany to satiate the lust-filled male football fans. As it turned out, German police uncovered just five cases of ‘human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation’ during the World Cup – and one of the victims was a German (3). At the Sex Workers’ Open University, Nick Mai pointed out that coercion and exploitation does exist within the sex industry: some women are indeed forced into it against their will, or certainly have very restricted choices. Yet the emotive term ‘trafficking’ has become a powerful tool for prostitution abolitionists to win wider public support for their efforts to clamp down on the sex industry as a whole, and to criminalise migrant workers. Anti-trafficking has replaced HIV/AIDS as the abolitionists’ trump card. Mai pointed out that some migrants choose to work in the sex industry in order to avoid exploitation in other industries, where there is frequently low pay and long working hours.

Yet migrants tend to become subjects of concern for campaigners only when they enter the sex industry, despite the fact that they can earn significantly more through that line of work than they would as domestic workers or seasonal agricultural workers for instance. Anti-traffickers appear to believe that sex work in itself is a form of enslavement, and thus presume that foreigners who work in the sex industry in Britain and elsewhere in Europe are doing so against their will. It is telling that one anti-trafficking activist, writing in the Guardian, confused a statistic on the number of foreign nationals working in the British sex industry with the number of trafficking victims. She wrote: ‘Ten to 15 years ago, only 15 per cent of the women in the UK sex trade were trafficked.’ Later, a correction to the article said: ‘We meant 15 per cent were foreign nationals.’ (4) The same article cited another, already disproved figure: that 80 per cent of women in prostitution in Britain are foreign nationals, most of whom have been trafficked. This estimate was provided by the Poppy Project, set up by the UK Home Office in 2003 to combat trafficking and sexual abuse of women arriving in to the UK. The figure is based on a 2002 survey by the Metropolitan Police’s Clubs and Vice Unit, which claimed to have discovered that in venues used for prostitution in central London, 70 to 80 per cent of the women were foreign (5). Similar figures later appeared in a Home Office consultation paper on prostitution. Both of these studies acknowledged the difficulty of establishing exactly how many women are trafficked into prostitution. And yet, the Poppy Project deduced from its study of women working in the off-street sex industry in one part of London that the trends found there would be reproduced in the same way across the rest of Britain (6). This is a dubious presumption, to say the least. The Poppy Project and other anti-trafficking warriors tend to presume that foreign women working in the sex industry are, by definition, ‘victims of trafficking’; they refuse to see migrants or sex workers as people with agency. In their worldview, there is only room for victims and perpetrators, the abused and abusers. [support spiked] Of course, women often enter the sex industry because of a lack of choice; you would be hard-pressed to find young girls who aspire to be prostitutes when they grow up. It would be silly, as many pointed out at the Open University, to romanticise sex work. Yet at the same time, many workers in different industries and sectors, especially poorly paid migrant workers, do not always feel that they have unlimited options available to them. Most people work out of necessity rather than personal choice. The Irish police investigation suggests, yet again, that theories of mass, organised trafficking are mere speculations. Figures tend to be heavily inflated and are tied to political agendas rather than being grounded in reality. After all, how can a phenomenon for which there is no agreed definition, and which is routinely described as a ‘covert activity’ that happens in ‘the shadow economy’, be quantified in any real way? How do you define ‘consent’ and ‘choice’ in situations where people set out on journey across the world, unsure about exactly what they will find at the end of it?

Why should we expect migrants to avoid hiring so-called ‘people smugglers’ to take them across borders or to provide them with false documentation when they are denied legal ways of travelling?

Across the globe, serious clamp-downs on liberty are occurring in the name of ‘combating trafficking’. This became painfully clear at the Open University, where activists from around the world spoke of the challenges posed by anti-trafficking legislation. One woman told of how migrant sex workers in Costa Rica are routinely rounded up and arrested in the name of rooting out trafficking. In Cambodia, anti-trafficking legislation, introduced under pressure from the US Department of State, has led to raids on brothels, with thousands being ‘forcibly rescued’ by NGOs. Women at the Empower Foundation, a collective of sex workers in Chiang Mai, Thailand, have reported similar ‘rescue missions’ by police and charity workers, ending with them being locked up, interrogated and deported without any compensation for them or their dependants (7). Anti-traffickers tend to claim that it is only a small minority of privileged, Western sex workers who are against the criminalisation of sex work in general. Yet around the world, thousands of sex workers have organised to campaign for their working rights – from Argentina and Mexico to France and the UK; from Thailand and Cambodia to Malaysia and India. As the organisers of the Sex Workers’ Open University said: ‘The issue of trafficking has been used by some to try to criminalise all sex workers. We contest this simplistic association of all sex work with trafficking and abuse and we support the rights of all migrant workers, whether victims of trafficking or not, and condemn the detention and deportation of those workers.’ It is high time we ended the perverse war on ‘trafficking’ and started standing up for personal choice and for the right of people to move freely around the world.

Nathalie Rothschild is commissioning editor of spiked.

(1) ‘“No sex slave rings here”, say gardai after probe’, Sunday Independent (Ireland), 19 April 2009 (2) Over 100 women trafficked for sex industry in Ireland, Irish Times, 17 April 2009 (3) See Exposed: the myth of the World Cup ‘sex slaves’, by Bruno Waterfield. (4) The truth of trafficking, by Rahila Gupta, Guardian, 2 April 2009 (5) Open door, by Siobhain Butterworth, Guardian, 8 December 2008 (6) Open door, by Siobhain Butterworth, Guardian, 8 December 2008 (7) See Prostituting women’s solidarity, by Nathalie Rothschild. s


Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on Monday, 17 November, 2008 by bristolnoborders

November 20th 2008: Shut down BMI Airlines day. Remember Babi!

Everyday, an average of 180 migrants are deported from the UK. That’s one person every eight minutes.

They haven’t done anything wrong.

Solidarity Without Borders Fri 21st Nov & Mon 8th Dec

Last Month, five Latin American cleaners were unfairly dismissed by the company responsible for the cleaning at the National Physical Laboratory. Their sacking was a clear retaliation to their attempts at organising, receiving union recognition, and protesting the measures by which Amey has, since taking over the contract in 2006, been lowering their standards. Among the acts of intimidation carried out by Amey, there was a migration raid at NPL that resulted in seven dismissals and three deportations.

Noisy Picket:Friday, 21st November at: 1 Redcliffe Street,Bristol between 12.00pm and 2.00pm Please bring noisy things. This follows several demos in London, and one last month in Bristol.
There will also be a public meeting in Oxford on Thu Dec 4 and and action at Amey national HQ, also in Oxford, on Mon Dec 8. Transport will probably be available from Bristol for the demo . e-mail if your interested in going and want further details.



There will be a picket in Bristol outside Amey’s offices

Since the last demo in Bristol, the workers have had their appeal against dismissal, and are expecting the result of the tribunal in the next couple of days…

It seems that while employees work for less than minimum/living wages, with few rights then it’s ok. But, as soon as they begin to organise to collectively improve their conditions, immigration legislation is rolled out to intimidate them, as shown in both the case of the largely Latino workforce dismissed by Amey and the cleaners on the London underground.

Bristol No Borders call for solidarity with all workers whether they have papers or not.
We are aware that this is a tricky time to defend migrant worker’s rights, as many fear losing their own jobs and the media stir up talk of putting limits on immigration to protect ‘British’ jobs. But we think this is the right time to be making the arguments that we will not be divided by bosses and governments. This is ultimately more than just a matter of rights and fair treatment for migrant workers – it’s about the “race to the bottom” that determines deregulation, worse pay and standards for all workers in the UK. Migration controls are a weapon against the whole work force. They divide us and are a tool of discipline the workforce. If there are workers with less right or no rights, this undermines the position of workers as a whole. Migration legislation is unlikely to to stop so called “illegal workers” from seeking employment in the rich west. It will however, employers probably hope that it will make them less likely to organise at work, this allowing employers to further reduce their working conditions.

The answer must be to oppose immigration controls. EQUAL RIGHTS ARE IN THE INTERESTS OF ALL WORKERS.

Saturday 22nd Nov

2-3 pm outside Tesco Metro in Broadmead to protest against vouchers for asylum seekers, and encourage exchange of vouchers.

75% of those who seek safety in the UK are not granted it. However, many
can not return home because of war, etc. They can stay here but they are
not allowed to work but instead receive £35 vounchers a week. They must
live entirely from Tesco, Asda or Sainsburys, therefore NO buses, halal
food, transport, even to top up mobile phones.

More info Bristol Refugee Rights,

Supported by Bristol Defend Asylum Seekers