Friday, January 29, 2010

Action to stop human trafficking

I have been contacted by the All Party Parliamentary Group against human trafficking. They make a number of very strong arguments about the need to do more to protect the victims of this vile practice.

Two hundred and three years ago the House of Commons first voted to eliminate the slave trade. Three years ago Copeland council was one of those who marked that historic anniversary. The Royal Navy of this country hunted down and stopped the slavers. But a modern form of slavery has returned, and needs to be stamped out.

The All Party Group's proposals, which I believe have a lot of merit, are

1. Establishing a UK National Anti-Slavery Day.

2. National Watchdog to coordinate all info and statistics from statutory and voluntary sectors and report to parliament once a year.

3. Proactive and dedicated Police Force on Human Trafficking - Pentameter initiatives should be automatic every year in every police force.

4. National Referrals Mechanism (NRM) to be administered by both government and non-government agencies.

5. National Network of Shelters for women and children victims of trafficking whatever their age. At the moment children go into local authority homes. These are not secure. The children may be located by traffickers, persuaded to leave the home and then re-trafficked.

6. Change in visa arrangements so that domestics brought into the UK to work for foreign embassy officials are free to seek other domestic work and not forced to return home.

7. An enhanced Guardian Ad Litem system for trafficked children. Someone specifically deputed to help them through the legal labyrinth and support them in form filling and other administrative tasks. There is already an extensively developed system for UK children but there is nothing for trafficked children.

8. Work Permits and Identity cards for victims of trafficking whilst they are resident in the UK. Giving victims the ability to work in the UK would encourage them to give evidence against traffickers without fear of being returned to the source country where they would be vulnerable to being re-trafficked.

1 comment:

Jane said...

Britain led the world to abolish slavery. People trafficing and forced labour is a form of slavery. It is utterly inexcusable in modern society that there are so few safeguards against it.

Last year a group of cross-benchers, Lib-Dem and Conservative MP's made the Government acknowledge the absence of legal protection for vulnerable people. Someone could be held in slavery without the abuser having committed a criminal offence.

It is now time to put the necessary safeguards in place in order to protect the victims of the obscene trade. Laws are measured by their enforceability. It is good to see a cross party objective to honour the traditions of William Wilberforce in that attempts are being made to realise the objective of eliminating this evil practice.