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Birmingham's crime gangs fund terrorists

Birmingham's crime gangs fund terrorists | Human Trafficking | Scoop.it

City gyms, cafes and restaurants used for recruiting extremists, say police.

 

A top-level police report has revealed crime gangs in Birmingham are funding terrorism.

And the criminal groups now run 59 legitimate businesses in the city, often using them to launder money made from drug dealing, robberies, and even gun-running.

The potential threats facing Birmingham and its residents is laid bare in a detailed report compiled by the Assistant Chief Constable of West Midlands Police, Sharon Rowe.

It was written for Birmingham Community Safety Partnership, involving members of the city council, probation service, police and fire service.

The report, published online, confirms there are currently 28 organised crime gangs (OCGs) operating in the city and highlights the scale of their operations and influence.

But it is believed there are 306 OCGs whose criminality affects Birmingham.

The report states the Birmingham gangs now run 59 legitimate businesses, often using them to launder proceeds from their criminal activities, which include drug dealing, robberies, car key burglaries and even gun-running.

They include pubs, car washes and sandwich shops, which normally deal in cash.

 

For the first time, the report also reveals some of the groups are believed to be funding terrorism.

It states: “There is evidence that some Birmingham OCGs use the profits from crime to help fund terrorist activities.”

Hotspots identified for OCGs in some areas of the city are also the most vulnerable for terrorism, the report says.

It talks in more general terms about possible future terrorism threats in the city, following recent court cases.

They include the jailing of Birmingham-born extremists like Irfan Naseer, Ashik Ali and Irfan Khalid who led a suicide bomb plot that could have been ‘bigger than 7/7’. They are not named in the report.

Counter-terrorism led Operation Gamble, which uncovered a Birmingham plot to kidnap and behead a Muslim soldier, is mentioned by name in the report, but not ringleader Parviz Khan, 37, who was jailed for life.

The document says: “In Birmingham, work is underway to target those involved in facilitating and supporting terrorism.

“There is an inherent risk that networks engaged in support activities, such as fundraising, may launch attacks.

“This type of progression has been seen before in Birmingham, as demonstrated by sentences handed out to local residents for offences under the Terrorism Act.

“Influential extremists continue to operate in Birmingham, promoting extremist ideologies in order to recruit people to their cause.

“A number of locations within Birmingham, such as gyms, restaurants and cafes, are used to facilitate extremist activity by allowing key figures spaces to operate and promulgate their message.”

The greatest threat to the city is from individuals travelling overseas to take part in conflict or receive terrorist training who ‘subsequently come to Birmingham with enhanced intent and capability’, the report says.

Tribal Areas in Pakistan, Yemen and Syria are ‘attractive destinations’ for Western Muslim extremists, with strong evidence of ‘facilitation and support activities’ in Birmingham.

The report adds: ‘‘This includes fundraising, facilitation of travel, radicalisation and distribution of extremist material.

“However, as seen with Operation Gamble, operations can swiftly develop from facilitation and support to active attack, which remains a constant threat.

“An analysis of current investigations showed that the terrorist threat in Birmingham is diversifying.

“It involves people of Pakistani, Somali (including third country migrants from Scandinavia and the Netherlands), Algerian, Egyptian, Iraqi, Iranian, Lebanese, Libyan, most vulnerable to violent extremism.’’

The use of legitimate charities by extremists was also identified in Birmingham, the report said.

“The mainstream Muslim community legitimately donate considerable sums of money for charitable causes but extremist elements usurp this generosity by diverting the funds to further extremist purposes,’’ it says.

“International events such as the current turmoil in Gaza and Syria impact on local Birmingham communities, which presents new risks and challenges. These events can impact upon community tensions, be exploited for fundraising purposes or provide new destinations for extremist training.’’

The report also highlights potential threat from right-wing extremists in the city. But it adds: ‘‘However, no such group is judged to have the intent or capability to undertake terrorist acts at national level and this appears consistent in Birmingham where support for and activity by these groups is minimal.’’

 

The report reveals that nationally there are 7,300 separate Organised Crime Gangs, involving almost 39,000 criminals.

 

It is believed there are 306 OCGs whose criminality affects Birmingham.

Last autumn, West Midlands Police identified 28 of these as being based in the city, with more than 300 active organised criminals.

Birmingham, the report states, is now seen as a key location to source drugs, launder money or dispose of stolen property.

Most groups exploit multiple criminal opportunities to make cash, including drug importation and dealing, robberies, vehicle thefts and car-key burglaries, and money laundering. Many have links to firearms.

The report states: ‘‘There are 18 OCGs in Birmingham known to use firearms, though there is just one group linked to the importation and distribution of firearms in Birmingham and six across the region.

‘‘In the city, eight OCGs were linked to firearms or ammunition-related offences over the past 12 months. These account for 24 crimes with very few resulting in actual discharges.’’

The report also highlights ‘business links’ between the gangs. It notes: ‘‘Examples include links between drug importers and street level dealers, or the perpetrators of car key burglaries and those linked to vehicle ringing.

“Within Birmingham, eight OCGs are closely connected around Class A drug dealing.”

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Human trafficking gets life term in drive on slavery

Human trafficking gets life term in drive on slavery | Human Trafficking | Scoop.it

A maximum life sentence for the worst cases of human trafficking and exploitation is to be introduced.

It comes after Home Secretary Theresa May said tougher sanctions would be brought in to tackle modern-day slavery earlier this year.

The number of cases discovered in the UK has risen by 25% in the last year, according to new government figures.

Trafficking from Albania, Poland and Lithuania has seen a big rise.

Ministers are planning new legislation to simplify the law on slavery, and make it easier to bring prosecutions.

Victims are often targeted for sexual exploitation, construction work or begging gangs.

A new report by the inter-departmental ministerial group on human trafficking has revealed that 1,186 victims were referred to the authorities in 2012, compared with 946 victims in 2011.

The report revealed the largest number of victims were from Nigeria, Vietnam, Albania, Romania and China.


There has been a 300% increase in Albanian trafficking, a 171% increase in victims from Lithuania, and 148% more from Poland since 2011, the report indicated.

But trafficking from Romania and China had fallen, according to the figures.

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Analysis

Public policy often involves a modest amount of 'branding' and Theresa May no doubt had this in mind during her party conference speech when she highlighted the push against 'modern-day slavery'.

It's a description covering a multitude of sins, but there is a common thread. The victims are usually promised, in advance, a happy, comfortable and free life in Britain, but arrive to discover misery, squalor and varying degrees of imprisonment.

Because there are so many different models of slavery, it is a problem that can only be tackled through a wide range of agencies working together. The Home Office has to create laws that can be used; prosecutors have to use them. The police have to understand the often subtle coercion implicit in trafficking. They must co-ordinate linked investigations across Britain.

The new National Crime Agency must get to grips with the organised gangs, charities such as the Salvation Army need to focus on helping - and crucially identifying - the victims.

But perhaps the biggest problem of all is that no-one really knows how big this problem is. How many 'modern day slaves' there are hidden in flats in our inner cities, unable physically or mentally to escape.

Victims brought to the UK are forced to do anything from work as house slaves to labour in cannabis farms.

Eastern European women are most likely to be used as prostitutes, according to the report. Men are most likely to be used for construction work.

There is also a trend towards forced begging, and benefit fraud - gangmasters take all the proceeds, returning very little to victims.

Those targeted are often lured to the UK with the promise of free travel, a job and accommodation, sometimes by members of their own family. An alternative is so-called 'debt bonds' where money owed must be repaid by working in the UK.

Klara Skrivankova, from the Anti-Slavery International group, wants greater protection for victims - including the right to stay in the UK.

"Tougher penalties and longer sentences alone do not suffice," she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"Unless the protection of victims is put on a statutory footing, we're unlikely to see more prosecutions."

Kristy Adams, a Conservative councillor who runs the Bedfordshire Against Modern Slavery group, told Today: "We've got organised groups but also individuals being lured to the UK. They think they're being led to a lovely new life with new opportunities, but they're actually being led to a life of horror and despair."

Chief constable Shaun Sawyer of the Association of Chief Police Officers said "the national approach is very much about the protection of the victim", but he added: "I agree that the signposting and signalling could be clearer".

"A lot of people are prosecuted for GBH, rape, violence against the individual - it's far easier to bring the perpetrator to justice this way. This Bill will make it easier to prosecute for trafficking."

In her Tory party conference speech, Mrs May said an order banning someone convicted of trafficking from being a gangmaster after their release from prison would form a key part of the new bill.

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Gladys Wiles's curator insight, October 18, 2013 10:55 AM

Slavery, alive and well, but now it's called "human trafficking". New legislation would impose a maximum life-sentance for those convicted of human trafficking and exploitation. This type of slavery is on the rise. Is this penalty enough? Is a life-sentence enough of a deterant? Not in my opinion, it is not!

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Sex slavery: what can students do about it? - Independent Collegian

Sex slavery: what can students do about it? - Independent Collegian | Human Trafficking | Scoop.it
Sex slavery: what can students do about it?
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Nearly 30 Million Worldwide are Living in Slavery: USFer Discusses Modern Day Slavery

Nearly 30 Million Worldwide are Living in Slavery: USFer Discusses Modern Day Slavery | Human Trafficking | Scoop.it

A new study from an Australian-based human rights group reports that nearly 30 million people worldwide are living in slavery-like conditions, with almost half of them in India.The study is the first-ever global index on slavery, and tracks forced labor, human trafficking, and the sale of children, among other abuses.


USF Professor David Batstone will discuss modern day slavery worldwide, and what forms of slavery and human trafficking exist here in the Bay Area.

 

[via KQEDForum]


Via Media Relations for the University of San Francisco, University of San Francisco
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University of San Francisco's curator insight, October 22, 2013 12:32 PM
Professor David Batstone teaches USF's Capstone Course in Ethics, and serves as Co-Professor in the Erasmus Program: a living-learning community that explores, over the course of a school year, what social justice means within the US and in communities around the globe. As a widely published author in both academia and the popular press, Dr. Batstone's five books address ethical issues at the crossroads of politics, business, economy, and spirituality. USA (Today) Weekend describes David Batstone as "one of the country's leading authorities on ethics in the business world."
 
As founder of the Not For Sale anti-human trafficking campaign, Professor Batstone has connected business leaders, heads of community, celebrities, and students, to raise awareness of the 27 million human slaves in the world today. His efforts have inspired thousands of modern day abolitionists to join together in open source activism to save humanity from slavery.
Erin McRoberts's curator insight, August 20, 2014 12:16 AM

Worldwide Modern Slavery

Bernadette Gill's curator insight, April 15, 2015 2:30 PM

Worldwide Slavery

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Sex Slaves and Child Prostitution…They exist closer to us than we dare admit

Sex Slaves and Child Prostitution…They exist closer to us than we dare admit | Human Trafficking | Scoop.it
The term “sexual slavery” can be defined as an immoral institution that forces subjugated humans to participate in various degrading sexual practices for both t

Via Darcy Delaproser
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