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Criminalisation of Migrant Women

Women's prisons and immigration centres hold an increasing number of foreign nationals who are migrants; that is, they have entered the country to seek asylum or work, and a number of these women are victims of trafficking.

This research aims to bridge a knowledge gap in relation to the extent of this problem within the female estate, and in the context of Human Rights legislation, to further our understanding of how women's cases have been processed.

This will be achieved by examining (over a 12 month period) the number and profile of foreign national prisoners and detainees who have been charged with illegal immigration and the related offences of deception and fraud.  There will also be attempt to identify those charged with offences committed under debt bondage; that is, those subject to enforced labour (for example, in the production of cannabis) to pay off the costs of being trafficked into the UK.  A sample of case histories will be analysed to gain fuller understanding of whether these women are victims of trafficking, as defined by the Palermo Protocol, and to show how they have been managed by the criminal justice and immigration systems from point of arrest.