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14 September 2012

More work needed to tackle human trafficking

More work needed to tackle human trafficking

CARE is calling the UK government to do more to prevent human trafficking, and help those who have already been trafficked.

GRETA (the European Council's Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings) has published a report on human trafficking in the UK, which shows that the government needs to make the changes suggested by the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Bill which is now passing through parliament.

A report in 2005 found that 600,000 to 800,000 people were trafficked across international borders every year; 80 per cent of which are thought to be women and girls, and up to 50 per cent are minors.

People are trafficked for many reasons and purposes, such as forced begging, sexual exploitation, forced labour in sweat shops, circuses, and farms or as domestic slaves.

Genevieve Galvin, CARE's human trafficking and exploitation officer, said:

"While CARE celebrates the areas where improvements have been made, GRETA's findings show how much more work there is still to do in the UK to tackle trafficking. Victims need to be supported and treated fairly and the criminals exploiting them brought to justice."

Regarding these two Bills, one of which is passing through Westminster and the other through the Northern Ireland Assembly, she said: "We urge the British Government and Northern Ireland Executive to support these Bills and by doing so, continue the UK's history of championing the abolition of slavery."

In particular, the report focuses on the circumstances of those who have been rescued from traffickers after they have been rescued.

Dr Daniel Boucher, the director of parliamentary affairs at CARE, said: "CARE particularly supports the call for legal guardians and safe accommodation for child victims. CARE has been consistently calling attention to the shameful and deeply disturbing fact that between 2007 and 2010, of the 942 trafficked children rescued, 301 were subsequently lost from local authority care."

The report draws a link between this and a lack of safe residential care or private fostering arrangements in some of the local authorities, meaning that children can easily slip through the net.

CARE is asking for more support to those who have been trafficked, such as the provision of legal aid, access to translation services, and assistance with compensation claims.

They see the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Bill as an opportunity to not only improve the UK's practice, but also lead the way in helping the two to four million people who are trafficked (within their own countries and internationally) every year.