UK: Human trafficking - Amnesty International applauds UK government decision to sign up the European Convention Against Trafficking

Reacting to the news today (22 January) that the UK Government is to sign up to the European Convention Against Trafficking, Amnesty International UK Campaigns Director Tim Hancock said:

“Amnesty International applauds the decision of the UK Government to sign up to the European Convention Against Trafficking.

“Trafficking in people is a vicious and well organised crime which is causing untold human misery around the world and right here in the UK.

“The UK signing up to the European Convention will help ensure that victims of this pernicious trade in people receive some protection when they escape or are rescued here in the UK.

“It should end the uncertainty victims have faced in the past where they were not recognised as victims of crime and faced possible immigration detention and deportation.

“Signing up and guaranteeing protection for these vulnerable people is the right thing for the UK to do.

“Trafficking victims who receive protection may also be much better able to help the police with further enquiries and prosecutions.

“ We look forward to the speedy ratification of the European Convention Against Trafficking by the UK, and the implementation of all its provisions. We need to look at the detail of the government’s commitment, which we hope will be more than the bare minimum required by the Convention.”

Amnesty International hopes the UK Government will ratify and implement the provisions of the European Convention Against Trafficking without delay. It hopes the Government will take advice from those with experience in providing support to victims of trafficking when it comes to looking at implementation.

The Prime Minister made his announcement at a reception to mark the bicentennial of the Slave Trade Act. Tim Hancock continued:

“It is fitting in this bicentennial year that the Government does more to help the victims of slavery today, as well as commemorating the victims of the past.”

Background

Home Office research due to be published this year suggests that at any one time during 2003 there were in the region of 4,000 victims of trafficking for forced prostitution in the UK (1). Trafficked Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and girls, from countries including Moldova, Romania, Albania, Thailand and Nigeria have been forced to work as prostitutes in London. Victims of trafficking are tricked or violently coerced into leaving their homes.

The European Convention Against Trafficking guarantees trafficked people:

* a breathing period (‘reflection period’) of at least 30 days during which they can receive support to aid their recovery, including safe housing and emergency medical support;

* temporary residence permits for trafficked people who may be in danger if they return to their country, and/or if it is necessary to assist criminal proceedings.

Notes:

1. From a written answer by Home Office minister Vernon Coaker to a Parliamentary Question from Mohammed Sarwar MP, December 2006

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