Friday, 24 September 2010

Labour challenges Tories and Lib Dems to back anti-trafficking laws.

Lambeth Council leader Steve Reed has called on local Lib Dems and Tories to support proposed rules to tackle human trafficking across Europe. The coalition government has dismayed campaigners by refusing to sign up to the new rules, but Labour hopes a cross-party campaign can persuade them to change their minds.

The new guidelines would work to ensure that EU countries work together to prevent trafficking, ensure successful prosecution and make sure victims of trafficking are properly looked after. Researchers estimate there are an average of 100 trafficked women and children facing regular abuse, including physical and sexual abuse, in every London Borough including Lambeth.

Astonishingly the coalition government have said they will opt out of the new rules that are supported by many well respected campaign groups including Anti–Slavery International and ECPAT UK which campaigns against child sexual abuse. The government’s failure to support the new rules seriously undermines European–wide efforts to tackle the misery caused by this crime, abandoning victims in Lambeth and elsewhere to their abusers.

Lambeth is home to the Poppy Project, part of Eaves Women’s Housing, which offers support to women and children who are freed from their abusers. They have also backed the campaign for the government to sign up to the new rules.

Cllr Steve Reed said:

“It is unbelievable the Government is refusing to sign up to new rules that could help protect some of the most vulnerable people in our country. Hundreds of women and children are trafficked to the UK every year and suffer untold abuse at the hands of their captors. I’m calling on Lambeth’s Tories and Lib Dems to join Labour in demanding a change of heart from their colleagues in government. We must do everything in our power to stop this vile abuse of women and children.”

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