Tuesday, January 08, 2008

UK Trafficking Law Delays Must End

From the BBC:

UK government officials are accused of "betraying" human trafficking victims by delaying ratification of a European treaty. Shadow home secretary David Davis said the government had signed the treaty to "great fanfare" last year - but as yet had no plans to ratify it. The treaty
covers a range of measures, including 30-day residence permits to victims to allow them to recover from their ordeal and reflect on whether they will help police prosecute offenders.

There had been some fears this could be open to abuse by people making false claims of being trafficking victims to remain in the country. A Home Office spokeswoman said the government had already introduced "wide ranging" anti-trafficking laws as well as setting up the Serious Organised Crime Agency and the UK Human Trafficking Centre. She added: "We have signed the Council of Europe Convention and will ratify as soon as we can. We are determined to get the arrangements right before we ratify. "This involves widespread consultation and primary and secondary legislation. This is not unique to the UK. Most other EU countries are in a similar position."

The Home Office says it has introduced anti-trafficking laws and will ratify the treaty as soon as possible.But Mr Davis said while the convention had been signed "amidst great fanfare last year", the government "doesn't even have a plan or timetable for ratification".

The government says research suggests 4,000 women in the UK are working in areas of sexual exploitation and may have been trafficked - or moved by force or deception with the aim of exploiting them.

Read the full article

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