Harrison wins Paul Foot Award

Reporter David Harrison this week picked up the Paul Foot Award for campaigning journalism in recognition of a "tireless and often perilous" investigation into sex trafficking in Eastern Europe for The Sunday Telegraph.

His work was not only acclaimed by the United Nations, but prompted action from the Home Office.

The award of £5,000 was set up by Private Eye and The Guardian in memory of campaigning journalist Paul Foot, who died in 2004.

On accepting the award, Harrison said: "The sex trafficking series was a difficult and dangerous undercover investigation and there were times, when I sat in sleazy Eastern European bars and nightclubs, talking ‘business' with armed thugs, that I wondered if I would get out alive…

"Like most journalists, I sometimes wonder if what I do makes any real difference. It's nice to think that occasionally it does."

Harrison's winning entry detailed the story of young girls held captive in an unlit cellar before being shipped over to Britain to work as sex slaves. Six runners-up received prizes of £1,000 each. They were: l Tony Collins, from Computer Weekly, for a "relentless investigation" of the £12.4bn NHS IT programme in the face of "consistent obstruction and obfuscation from the Government".

l Liam McDougall, from The Sunday Herald, for work which revealed "dark allegations of malpractice among fingerprint experts".

l Stephen Grey, for The Guardian/New Statesman/The Sunday Times, for investigations into the CIA's secret rendition policy.

l The Insight team, The Sunday Times, for being at the "cutting edge" of the cash-for-honours and the Tessa Jowell and David Mills financial scandals. l Henry Porter, from the The Observer, for "a series of elegantly written, thoroughly researched and passionately argued articles" which "goaded" the prime minister into a series of email exchanges.

l Jeni Harvey, The Middleton Guardian, for writing about the "appalling injustice of the Rochdale satanic abuse affair" and for "refusing to let the scandal rest, challenging court orders and using the Freedom of Information Act to good effect". The judges were Richard Stott (chair), Ian Hislop, Alan Rusbridger, Bill Hagerty, Clare Fermont, Jeremy Dear and Richard Ingrams.

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