Charity coalition lobbies over human trafficking

A coalition of NGOs – Unicef UK, Amnesty International and Anti-Slavery International – have teamed up to lobby the UK Government to provide adequate protection for victims of human trafficking.

The coalition has kicked off its co-ordinated lobbying campaign in the wake of the broadcast of Channel 4 drama Sex Traffic, which charted the progress of two women who are trafficked from Moldova to London after being sold into prostitution against their will.

The broadcast coincides with key negotiations in Strasbourg on the European Convention Against Trafficking, which calls for minimum binding standards for the protection and support of trafficked people.

Up to 1,420 women were trafficked to the UK for sexual exploitation in 2000, according to the Home Office.

Amnesty International press officer Sarah Green said: ‘We decided it would be mutually beneficial for all sides to launch this appeal [in the wake of Sex Traffic]. Trafficking is often an obscure topic that does not attract much news.’

The coalition is seeking to insert three provisions into the convention: medical, educational and vocational assistance to victims of trafficking; a three-month minimum ‘reflection period’ for victims to consider whether or not to testify or receive counselling; and residence permits for those in danger if they return to their native country.

The reflection period is considered key to bringing traffickers to justice.

In the UK, trafficking for labour and sexual exploitation both carry a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.

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