A call to the Liberal Democrats

On the 31 August 2010, the Home Office confirmed that the government will not opt-in to draft European laws on human trafficking.

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/media-centre/news/trafficking-directive

On 29 March 2010 the European Commission tabled a proposal for a new Directive on trafficking in human beings aimed at ensuring successful prosecution, better protection of and assistance to victims, and prevention of trafficking.,

Among the new measures are proposals for

–   non-punishment of the victims for unlawful activities such the use of false documents in which they have been involved for being subjected to by traffickers.

–   specific treatment for particularly vulnerable victims aimed at preventing secondary victimisation (no visual contact with the defendant, no questioning on private life, no unnecessary repetition of the testimony, etc.), police protection of victims, legal counselling also aimed to enable victims to claim compensation; special protective measures are envisaged for children such as holding interviews in a friendly environment.

–    providing victims with shelters, medical and psychological assistance, information, interpretation services.

The new Directive can be see here http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=MEMO/10/108

The Home Office claims that ‘it will make very little difference to the way the UK tackles the problem’ but according to charities, including Amnesty International the UK anti-trafficking measures are ‘not fit for purpose’

http://www.amnesty.org.uk/news_details.asp?NewsID=18820

A Home Office Spokesman went on to say that: ‘by not opting in now.. we.. avoid being bound by measures that are against our interests.’

Liberal Democrat MEP and anti-trafficking campaigner Catherine Bearder made a good point: “human trafficking doesn’t just affect other parts of the world. It isn’t just someone else’s problem; it’s our problem and this report shows it’s happening on the doorsteps of South East England.” “Women smuggled into the UK often don’t know they will be used as prostitutes, but are forced into selling their bodies to pay off a £30,000 ‘debt-bond’.”

Surely, tackling these problems is not against our interest? Also, I thought it was about protecting victims, rather than protecting the government.

So why wont our government ministers sign the damn thing?

In previous centuries liberals were instrumental to the abolition of the slave trade. Trafficking is modern day slavery.

Please, let’s remember what we are about as a party: we are in favor of Europe and internationalism; we are against organised crime, especially traficking. We are committed to social equality and helping most vulnerable people.

We are a democratic party so we as members can change party policy. I need help to submit and support an emergency motion at the conference to urge ministers to sign this directive.  Please e-mail me olga.a.ivannikova@gmail.com if you can help.

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3 Responses to “A call to the Liberal Democrats”

  1. Duncan Stott Says:

    I don’t have an issue with the government’s position at the moment. It is not promising to opt in until the directive has been finalised, because all the details aren’t known yet.

    However if it still decides not to opt in once the directive has been finalised, the government had better have a robust explanation as to why not.

    • olgaivannikova Says:

      ‘UK involvement in ensuring implementation is properly focused is now not possible if the UK opts out. The Home Office and NSC officers say this should be Schengen only, but the whole point is that human trafficking is a form of (forced) illegal immigration and it requires a pan-European approach.’

  2. Emergency motion on Human trafficking « Olga Ivannikova's Blog Says:

    […] Emergency motion on Human trafficking By olgaivannikova I’ve gone through the arguments on the new Directive in my previous post https://olgaivannikova.wordpress.com/2010/09/01/a-call-to-the-liberal-democrats/ […]

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