People Trafficking Crackdown Call

{mosimage}A powerful committee of MPs and Peers is urging the Government to tackle the “extremely worrying” growth of people trafficking into the UK. Unpublished Government research shows there were an estimated 4,000 victims of trafficking for prostitution in 2003 at any one time, according to an inquiry report published by the Joint Committee on Human Rights. No reliable estimates exist for the number of children or adult men who have been trafficked into the country for labour exploitation purposes. The MPs and peers describe the problem as “one of the most serious human rights issues in the modern world” and call for action. Their report highlights confusion over official statistics which they say give widely varying figures. In 2000 Home Office figures gave a range of between 142 and 1,420 women trafficked into the UK in 1998.

The suggestion that the number of women being trafficked for prostitution into the UK is on the increase seems to be corroborated by the fact that “whereas 10 years ago 85% of women in brothels were UK citizens, now 85% were from outside UK”.

The committee urges the Government to publish the research into organised crime markets currently being conducted by Home Office researchers, which may help in providing a clearer picture of the scale and extent of human trafficking into the country.

The report says that in accordance with human rights standards, the protection of victims should be the starting point from which all other policies relating to trafficking should flow.

The Government is urged to sign and ratify the Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings. The committee says it “can see no convincing argument against this course of action.”