Debbie Ariyo OBE, Founder and CEO of AFRUCA has been awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship to conduct research exploring the role of “communities as safety-nets in protecting human trafficking victims”.
Her research will take her to two countries where she will focus on children in the fishing sector in Ghana and children in sex tourism in Thailand. Debbie will spend a total of eight weeks travelling in both countries, meeting with communities, NGOs and government agencies. Her findings and how these can help improve UK anti-trafficking policy and practice will be published in a report which will be widely disseminated within the anti-trafficking sector and among policy-makers in the UK and elsewhere.
Debbie said: “I chose to research this subject because having worked in the UK anti-trafficking sector for over 18 years, it is disheartening to see so few non- mainstream organisations engaged in counter trafficking work. Not only that, there is very little effort to engage affected communities in prevention and victim support interventions. This leaves a huge gap in ongoing work, to the detriment of the same cohort of victims we are aiming to help. I hope that I can draw learning from my research in Thailand and Ghana to help improve how we engage communities in anti-trafficking work in the UK.

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Debbie Ariyo founded AFRUCA in May 2001 as a platform for promoting the rights of African children in the UK and is considered a leading expert on the trafficking and exploitation of African children and young people in the UK.

AFRUCA provides culturally centred practical and therapeutic support services for children and young people who have been trafficked into the country for different forms of exploitation and abuse. AFRUCA is also actively engaged in prevention by conducting regular campaigns in the African and wider BME communities to educate and inform about human trafficking and modern slavery issues, and how victims can be better identified, supported and protected from further exploitation.

In 2017, AFRUCA was funded by the Home Office to deliver an awareness raising campaign highlighting the high number of Nigerian children trafficked into the UK for domestic slavery. In 2018, AFRUCA also received a grant from Manchester City Council to deliver a campaign termed: “Manchester Against Modern Slavery”, raising awareness of modern slavery in the wider community across Manchester.

In 2018, AFRUCA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nigerian government’s Anti Trafficking Agency – NAPTIP to enable collaboration on prevention and victims support services.

For further information: www.afruca.org. To contact Debbie Ariyo: email Debbie@afruca.org

AFRUCA. May 2019