Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Action on Human Trafficking in the UK

Congratulations to Cornwall’s Soroptimists, who on Saturday held a successful anti-slavery day in St Austell.

I welcome the Government’s ongoing efforts to tackle human trafficking, outlined by Home Office Minister Damien Green:

‘‘Human trafficking is a brutal crime which ruins lives, and which is appallingly one of the fastest-growing international criminal activities. Traffickers treat people like commodities. The message from the British Government is clear. The UK is not a safe haven for traffickers; they will be pursued and brought to justice.
We have signed up to international conventions against trafficking, and published our own national strategy in July. This will build on previous work helping victims by improving Britain's capacity to stop trafficking in the first place. It will provide more tools for those who are out there on the front line, tirelessly working to fight the traffickers. As Anti-Slavery Day approaches we can demonstrate that anger many British people feel about trafficking is reflected in Government policy.

Our work is focused on understanding the modus operandi of traffickers and identifying the threats. We are doing this at the same time as tightening up our immigration controls. Through better intelligence and joint working with law enforcement agencies around the world, we are raising the stakes for traffickers. The creation of the National Crime Agency will further improve our capacity by establishing a command which brings together general law enforcement and border policing to share intelligence and to mount joint operations. This will provide better protection for those trafficked into sex slavery or illegal working.
We want to stop vulnerable people from being duped into a life of exploitation and prevent them from becoming victims in the first place. So we are working with source countries like China, India, Slovakia and Albania, where we are educating and advising vulnerable people what to look out for. We have started a new programme in West Africa providing authorities with training to improve trafficking investigations and help with successful prosecutions.
Should victims be found in the UK, our National Referral Mechanism helps us identify their needs quickly and offer specialist care and support through the Salvation Army. We have protected £2 million per year to fund this victim care for adult trafficking victims.
This week, the Home Office and Department of Education will publish guidance for local authorities and the police on, for example, how to report potential victims and how to recognise the key indicators of trafficking.
Charity and voluntary organisations are often best placed to provide us with information from the ground and help us prevent this crime. So we have reached out to these groups to harness their expertise.

There is also a role for the private sector to play. Today - on Anti-Slavery Day itself - we are launching a new initiative with Virgin Atlantic who are providing cabin crew with training to help them spot potential traffickers and victims. I would urge other airlines to follow Virgin Atlantic's lead.

Trafficking has no place in a modern society. Anti-Slavery Day is a chance to reflect on the plight of those who fall victim to this terrible crime and remind ourselves of the role we can all play in stopping it.’’

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