UK: Government Must Ensure Protection and Assistance for Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and Girls Trafficked into Sex Trade

Trafficking for sexual exploitation into the UK has increased over the last few years. Home Office research estimated that up to 1,420 Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights were trafficked into the UK for sexual exploitation in 2000 and more recent research has found that trafficked Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights, from countries including Moldova, Romania, Albania, Thailand and Nigeria have been forced to work as prostitutes in every London borough.

According to ECPAT UK research this year, social services in 32 out of 33 London Boroughs are currently concerned over trafficked Children's rights within their care.

The transmission of 'Sex Traffic' is timely in that it coincides with negotiations on the European Convention Against Trafficking, now reaching a critical stage in Strasbourg. This Convention provides an opportunity to establish minimum binding standards for the protection and support of trafficked people.

UNICEF UK, Amnesty International and Anti Slavery International are particularly concerned about three key provisions they wish to see inserted into the Convention in order to ensure full protection and assistance for trafficking victims in the UK and across the EU:

  • medical, educational and vocational assistance for all victims of trafficking that is not made conditional on victims testifying against traffickers and includes
  • a specified 'reflection period' of at least 3 months, in which victims can consider whether to testify and receive appropriate care and counselling
  • residence permits for victims that may stand to be in danger if they return to their country.

David Bull, Executive Director of UNICEF UK said:

'Trafficked Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and Children's rights are abused, raped and exploited right here in the UK, yet there is only one safe house caring and assisting Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and still no safe house for protection for Children's rights.

Victims need time to recover from the trauma and have a right to remain in a place of safety. A comprehensive Council of Europe Convention against Trafficking would fill the current vacuum obligating states, including the UK, to meet minimum binding standards for the protection and support of trafficked people.

'All the European states have a joint responsibility to effectively prevent trafficking, prosecute the traffickers and protect and respect the rights of the victims. Yet currently in the UK, victims are still not receiving adequate help or support, are often treated as criminals rather than victims of crime and may be deported to face reprisals of re-trafficking.'

Amnesty International UK Campaigns Director Stephen Bowen said:

'The trafficking industry brutalises Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and girls and destroys lives all over Europe on a daily basis. Victims of trafficking have had all of their very basic human rights violated – we must turn the system around so that they are recognised as the victims and not the perpetrators of crime.

'Fine words about protecting Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and girls are all very well in treaty pre-ambles, but they must be backed up by clear, enforceable provisions. The new European Convention is an opportunity to make protection for Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and girls obligatory, and to stop the practice of sending them back to places where they face great danger.'

Mary Cunneen, Director of Anti-Slavery International, said:

'Most European governments have passed laws to prohibit trafficking, but this is not sufficient. These laws must be accompanied by measures to protect and support trafficked people, including those trafficked for labour as well as sexual exploitation.

However, many European countries do not offer reflection periods or adequate services to trafficked people and make access to assistance conditional on their willingness or ability to cooperate in a prosecution. The Council of Europe Convention offers the opportunity to remedy this protection deficit and Anti-Slavery International urges all European countries, including the UK, to offer unequivocal support for language in the Convention to do so.'

  • Channel 4's 'Sex Traffic' is transmitted at 9pm on 14th October and 21st October 2004. Find out more ...
  • More information on the Women's rights's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights campaign ... /li>

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