The previous Chief Constable for Gloucestershire Dr Tim Brain had a lead on this issue nationally and brought some good changes - but they did not go far enough. I am also not convinced that the concerns that the Olympics will lead to an increase in trafficking in this country are understood. Trafficking increased during the Olympics in Germany and concerns have been raised that we will have a similar problem. Greens have raised the issue as long ago as 2000 and locally we have written to the Government and press on several occasions - infact just found an old letter of mine from 2003 attached below....anyhow this issue is still not getting enough coverage. I was therefore delighted to hear about The Body Shop campaign "to fight against human trafficking, bringing awareness of this modern-day slave trade to world leaders and the global community."
In collaboration with ECPAT UK they are calling on the UK Government to introduce a system of guardianship for child victims of trafficking. This would mean that all child victims of trafficking would:
- have someone with parental responsibility to care for and support them
- be prevented from facing further exploitation and harm from their traffickers
- receive the educational, medical, practical and legal support they need to help rebuild their lives
It seems amazing we can't guarantee this now. Please add your name to the petition here. You could also ask your MP to sign the Early Day Motion 513 that seeks support for child victims of trafficking.
My letter to local press in March 2003:
The Home Office announcement (Citizen 12/3/03) regarding the Eaves Housing project shelter for victims of sex trafficking is to be welcomed, but it must be put in perspective. It makes 25 places available. But every year, at least 200 victims of sex slavery are kicked out of Britain, often to be received home as vilified outcasts.
Coincidentally, this week's Green Party conference in Llandrindod, mid-Wales, will be considering a report on sex trafficking. It argues these women need support, counselling, and same-sex interviewers and translators. They are often terrified when arrested and need a secure, safe environment, sympathetic treatment - and an offer of asylum if necessary.
As Gloucestershires Chief Constable Dr Tim Brain, notes in The Citizen, better treatment for trafficked women, rather than their rapid repatriation, would help the police to gather the information they need to track down the traffickers themselves, who are the real criminals.
We need more support than has been announced this week, for sex-trafficked women in Britain and it is time to get serious on traffickers who are today's slave-owners.
Philip Booth, Gloucestershire Green Party.