Saturday, March 08, 2008

Legal Loophole Failing Officers Tackling Human Trafficking

From Jane's Information Group:

LONDON, ENGLAND- Officers do not have proper powers to deal with gangs of human traffickers, a national conference has heard.

Delegates at a Met-organised conference on child trafficking in London last week heard that officers have no real power to stop and search people suspected of committing these types of offences.

Instead, they are resorting to other ways and means, delegates at the event were told.

One Port of Dover Police officer told the conference: "Officers at ports generally use the Terrorism Act to check documents, but we would be bending the law if we were specifically looking for child-related offences."

Another delegate said: "A lot of police officers resort to using the Children Act or the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. It has been going on for a number of years and there does need to be some clarity."

According to Det Ch Supt Peter Spindler, who is in charge of the Met's child abuse investigations, one of the problems with child trafficking investigations is proving the likelihood of exploitation when a child arrives in the UK.

He told delegates: "If we find a trafficked child in the UK after the offence is complete and they have been exploited then we struggle to prove the trafficking as the documents, routes, the adult perpetrators and so on cannot be located or identified from the child for obvious reasons."

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