News Letter is part of team shortlisted for Private Eye’s ‘Paul Foot Award for Investigative and Campaigning Journalism’

The News Letter is part of an investigation which has been shortlisted for a top UK award from Private Eye magazine.

Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 6:30 am
Updated Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 8:47 am

The JPIMedia Investigations Team’s nomination is for an investigation in February - An UnBroken Chain - which highlighted disturbing shortfalls in the application of modern slavery legislation right across the UK.

Other teams shortlisted for The Paul Foot Award 2021 for Investigative and Campaigning Journalism are from the Financial Times, The Guardian, the Daily Mirror and the Sunday Times.

JPIMedia, which has titles including The Scotsman, The News Letter and The Yorkshire Post, was the only regional news organisation shortlisted.

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The threat of violence is common in modern slavery

The investigation used a mix of open data analysis, freedom of information requests and case studies to expose shocking failings by the criminal justice system. The team found that fewer than one in 20 slavery and trafficking offences have resulted in police action, with more than 19,000 cases closed without charges being brought across Britain.

In relation to modern slavery in NI since 2015, the team found;-

- MLAs planned a £1.3m exit scheme for the sex trade - but the reality turned out to be a leaflet of helpline numbers.

- A sex trafficking survivor who escaped from her captors in NI described the horror of being kidnapped by a Romanian trafficking gang and how she is still trying to secure compensation for her ordeal 11 years later.

JPIMedia Investigations Team leader Harriet Clugston, said: “Our project sought to expose the hollowness of politicians’ tough rhetoric on modern slavery — strong words with little evidence of follow through.

“Whether it’s the poor record of the police and CPS or the seemingly impossible task for survivors to access fair compensation, perpetrators are being let off the hook and victims let down across every community in the UK.

“It took an enormous amount of work over several months, and we’re so pleased our efforts have been recognised by the judges.”

Nick Mitchell, who is editor of JPI’s new national title NationalWorld.com and oversees JPI’s data and investigations team, commented: “Harriet and the team put a tremendous amount of work and expertise into this project, which exposed a shocking lack of political will to tackle a truly horrific crime.”

“Following the launch of nationalworld.com, we can now bring this investigative approach to a broader range of issues, both on a local and national level.

The JPIMedia team is made up of:

Harriet Clugston — data and investigations editor, NationalWorld

Conor Matchett — reporter, The Scotsman

Ethan Shone — reporter, NationalWorld

Isabella Cipirska — reporter, Worthing Herald and other Sussex titles

Michael Holmes — reporter, Blackpool Gazette

Millie Salkeld — reporter, Portsmouth News

Philip Bradfield — reporter, Belfast News Letter

The winner of the Paul Foot Award will be announced in an online ceremony on Tuesday 15 June at 6pm, broadcast at www.private-eye.co.uk.

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