1. Criminal Labelling, Publicity, and Punishment (forthcoming Law&Philosophy)
(presented at Warwick Centre for Ethics, Law, and Public Affairs 2015, Society for Applied Philosophy, July 2016.)
This paper considers whether publicizing criminal labels is justified as a form of punishment. It begins by arguing that making criminal labels public is inevitably stigmatizing and that stigmatization is not, as is often implied, a defining aspect of censure but needs independent justification. It argues that justifying grounds for public criminal labelling cannot be found in either the communicative account of punishment or deterrence theory. Rather, public criminal labelling should be understood as undermining of both the communicative and the deterrent functions of punishment. Recent empirical work is drawn upon to support the claims about public criminal labelling and deterrence.
2. The Human Rights Approach to Trafficking at the Border: Reconciling Immigration status, Vulnerability, and EU exceptionalism (with J. Lynch)
(presented at Stockholm Criminology Symposium, June 2016; to be presented at Australia and New Zealand Society for Criminology, Dec. 2016)
In this paper we examine the ‘human rights approach’ to trafficking in the context of UK border practices. Drawing on in-depth interviews with a Safeguarding and Anti-Trafficking team at Heathrow Airport, we explore how Border Force Officers (BFOs) accommodate and reconcile their newly-acquired human rights obligations with their prior immigration control duties. Our findings reveal tensions between BFO’s obligations to proactively identify and protect victims and the limits to their legal powers to do so. We analyse in particular on limits on BFO powers to act with respect to EU citizens, whose free movement between EU states is protected legally. We argue that these limits constrain significantly the ability of BFOs to implement a human rights approach to trafficking and suggest that this should be better reflected in political expectations of what the human rights approach can achieve at the border.
3. Secrecy and Disclosure in Undercover Policing
(presented at Hong Kong University, April 2016; Manchester Political Theory Workshop ‘Democratic Secrecy’, Sept 2016, submitted Criminal Justice Ethics, Sept 2016)
It is widely recognized that while some measure of secrecy is necessary for states to fulfill their security functions effectively, it comes at an inevitable cost to accountability. In his essay ‘Democratic Secrecy’ Dennis Thompson sketched out the mechanisms of this trade-off, which he termed the ‘secrecy-accountability dilemma’. Thompson identifies the main risks of secrecy as individual and institutional hypocrisy, and argues that these can be reduced via stringent avoidance of second-order secrecy (secrecy about what is secret) and strong oversight wherever first-order secrecy is maintained. In this paper I address a related but distinct challenge: how we manage the secrecy-accountability retrospectively, in cases of alleged historical wrongdoing or misconduct. More specifically, where secrecy that is otherwise justified has been used to conceal misconduct or wrongdoing on the part of the state, to what extent does the need to bring justice to both wrongdoers and victims justify disclosure? This is the challenge currently facing UK officials investigating allegations that undercover police engaged in systematic wrongdoing over decades-- wrongdoing that allegedly included spying on families of victims of crime and marrying and fathering children with those targeted. In response to allegations, the UK police have maintained a policy of neither confirming nor denying the identities of undercover agents and the tactics they used, citing security considerations. With specific reference to this policy, I propose strategies for delineating legitimate from illegitimate uses of state secrecy in security practices.
4. 'Acting in Isolation: Safeguarding and Anti-trafficking Officers’ Evidence and Intelligence Practices at the Border'
(currently undergoing minor revision for publication in the Anti-Trafficking Review, May 2017)
As international focus turns ever-more urgently to the problem of human trafficking, the border has been presented as a site of unique opportunity for the identification and protection of victims of trafficking. In the UK, the establishment of specialist safeguarding and anti-trafficking (SAT) units within the border force has raised questions about the challenges for border force officers (BFOs) of balancing the enforcement of strict immigration rules with the protection of victims under anti-trafficking legislation. In this paper we draw on data collected from a study of anti-trafficking initiatives at Heathrow airport to consider a particular area of BFO frustration with SAT work: the collection and use of evidence and intelligence to support investigation and pursuit of potential SAT cases at the border. Our findings focus on the use of intelligence and data to inform initiatives and develop a comprehensive understanding of the trafficking problem; and the scope of BFO powers of evidence-collection on the frontline. The experience of BFOs points to a team often working in isolation as they attempt to traverse gaps in data collection and limits to their powers to gather evidence in pursuit of their duty to combat human trafficking at the UK border. We conclude by making proposals for how the border force and central government could improve evidence and intelligence practices in ways that translate into both more coherent anti-trafficking policy and better identification and support for victims.
5. The Ethics of Consent to Assistance for Victims of Human Trafficking
Recent UK guidelines for anti-trafficking first responders, such as border officers, social workers, and doctors, require that consent be obtained from victims before they are referred to relevant services for shelter and assistance. They also require that consent be obtained before personally identifying information about suspected victims is passed to social services or the police. These requirements have recently been resisted and even actively undermined by some anti-trafficking first responders, who view them as an obstacle to their efforts to help victims. This paper examines the grounds for such requirements and the case for overriding them. It begins by arguing that the requirement to obtain consent to assistance is justified, at least because doing so avoids replicating or compounding the harm to autonomy done by trafficking, but that the same cannot be claimed for the requirement to obtain consent to the collection and sharing of personal data, which should be abandoned. It then turns to a closer consideration of the requirement to gain consent to assistance. It argues that, while that requirement is justified all things considered, it cannot ensure that the decision to accept or refuse assistance is itself meaningfully autonomous. This is in part because the information about the options available is sketchy at best, and in part because victims’ decisions are often influenced by coercion and deception by traffickers. In light of the less than ideal conditions under which consent is sought, the paper considers the case for encouraging anti-trafficking first responders to use ‘nudges’ such as motivational interviewing in order to increase the chances of obtaining consent.