Writing recently for the Wall Street Journal British PM David Cameron makes a call for tackling the root causes of poverty. Yet when we do that, calling on them for support falls on deaf ears.
The root causes are corruption organised crime and corporate greed.
Government may use all the rhetoric of tackling poverty, but they aren’t going to upset powerful friends. The rhetoric is for our consumption, the tax payer.
They hijack our work, strip out that which is too dangerous to contemplate – tackling organised crime in childcare institutions, leaving us too, to die in poverty.
As I explained to immigration Minister Mark Harper last week, if government acts like criminals to tackle the problems, there is little to distinguish them from the criminals who create them.
Dear Mark Harper,
I was interested to read the recently published Trafficking in Persons report and your comments reported last week in The Telegraph.
As a Forest of Dean based organisation, we’ve had a major focus over the last decade on childcare reform in Eastern Europe. Our activity has been mainly in Ukraine and our strategy, to advocate for replacement of childcare institutions by family type homes.
We have drawn the attention of both US and UK governments to the influence of organised crime and since 2006 raised awareness of neglect and abuse of children at Torez and Kalinovka. These locations have since been featured in reports from the Sunday Times and a recent BBC4 documentary on Ukraine’s Forgotten Children.
In our 2007 paper on Microeconomic Development and Social Enterprise in Ukraine, we identified the costs of placing all children in family homes, making this objective the central focus and metric of our proposal. A major part of this proposal was a centre for social enterprise.
The paper drew attention to the large number of children who escape the misery of institutions to take up a life on the streets. Those who leave at 17 so unprepared for life, that the majority of girls take to a life of prostitution while a large proportion of boys graduate to crime. This social group are also the raw material for the trafficking industry. In these street children the highest rates of HIV infection will be found and the UN has already declared this to be a threat to all Europe.
Until 2010 we had been told by the FCO that government had no development plans or funding for efforts in this country. We became aware in 2010 of plans for a social enterprise initiative in Ukraine by the British Council, who as you will know are part funded by the FCO.. We responded to their appeal for partners, introducing our work, to be disregarded.
In this social enterprise initiative, The British Council in Ukraine has partnered with USAID’s East Europe Foundation and several large commercial organisations. USAID were called on directly for their support in February 2008 and responded to say they had no budget to help ths group of children..
To protect our work, in 2007 we’d taken the precaution of publishing on a widely read news portal and in 2008 submitted the paper to the EU Citizens Consultation. The impact of making it so visible would be reflected in the subsequent EU Social Business Consultation. In a letter Commissioner Michel Barnier has acknowledged that what the consultation concluded has many similarities with this work.
There was clearly no way either US or UK government could be unaware of these efforts and in 2011 only months before his death, my colleague Terry Hallman wrote to the British Council reminding them of our copyright and investment of 12 man years effort.
Our government should understand that in a part of the world where abuse of intellectual property hampers all forms of business development, using the work of others and pushing them out of the way is clearly not the way to go.
Government should also understand that where such serious issues as prevention of human trafficking and HIV transmission are involved, there is no place for dishonesty. If we cannot act with integrity, how can government supported actions distinguish themselves from the organised crime which causes these social problems to begin with?
I understand that The British Council now plans a social enterprise initiative in Latvia and having responded to the invitation to participate through a third party.
As a Forest of Dean resident and local businessman, I ask for your support in defending our copyright should we again be brushed aside, along with the most serious social problems, while our intellectual property is borrowed. without compensation or attribution.
People-Centered Economic Development
Briarwood, Folly Road