Human trafficking and health in UK public policy

Oram, Sian L.; (2011) Human trafficking and health in UK public policy. PhD thesis, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. DOI:

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Background: The issue of human trafficking has risen up international and national political agendas in the last decade. Existing evidence suggests that many trafficked people suffer from a range of health problems as a result of their experiences. This research sought to analyse how health was incorporated into the UK response to trafficking between 2000 and 20 I O. Methods: Qualitative data was collected through semi-structured interviews, participant observation at policy-relevant events and document collection. Data analysis was organised according to the principles of framework analysis. Results: Trafficking has been defined in the UK as a problem of organised immigration crime and the dominance of this definition has limited the extent to which health was incorporated into the national policy response. Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) strategically used information about the health consequences of trafficking to support their arguments for the provision of support and protection to trafficked people. They did not use the information, however, to argue for health- related policy change. The Department of Health (OH) and healthcare providers were not engaged in trafficking policymaking and there was no discernable domestic pressure to develop a health- based response. A limited amount of health-related policy change did occur following the UK's ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, but the scope of these changes was restricted by the lack of awareness in the health sector about trafficking and by the shortage of information relating to how trafficked people use health services. Conclusions: Future health-related policy change is likely to be limited so long as healthcare providers fail to act as advocates within the policymaking process and the OH remains on the margins of the policy subsystem

Item Type: Thesis
Thesis Type: Doctoral
Thesis Name: PhD
Contributors: Busza, J (Thesis advisor); Zimmerman, C (["contributor_type_typename_" not defined]);
Additional Information:
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health


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