Monday, November 10, 2008

Human Trafficking Unit to Disband

From BBC:

November 10, 2008

A London police unit dedicated to tackling human trafficking will close after the Home Office withdrew £2.3m funding support.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman confirmed the Human Trafficking Team will disband in April 2009.

Critics say the unit is vital to protecting vulnerable men, women and children who are sold or lured into the sex trade, slavery or illegal working.

But the Home Office said the money was intended as one-off start-up funding.

A Home Office spokesman said the government's support for the policing of those who traffic people into the UK for the sex trade or as low-cost illegal workers will continue.

"The Met does not have the additional funds to keep the team running in its current format whilst meeting other existing policing requirements." Charities that attempt to rescue those trafficked into the UK against their will estimate that as many as 4,000 people are currently in the country as a result of being trafficked. Many are used as slave labour or forced into prostitution.

Slave labour

"We have made it clear that trafficking should be core police business and a high priority, and the Home Office is continuing to support forces' effort, notably through funding the UK Human Trafficking Centre with £1.7m this year."

But in a statement, the Met said the dedicated team launched in March 2007 will have to cease operations because it does not have the money to keep it open.

Read the full article

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