Do law enforcement agencies require special training to deal with the victims of Human Trafficking?

Just recently there was the case of five children being rescued from Human Traffickers by the police in England and Scotland. You can review the story as presented by The Independant here – http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/police-rescue-sex-slave-children-1780270.html

The UK government has issued a document – The UK Action Plan on Tackling Human Trafficking, which can be downloaded via pdf from their website http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/documents/human-traffick-action-plan

So on the surface it looks like the law enforcement agencies are having successes against the Traffickers and that they are being fully supported by the UK government………..right?

Well, let’s start by looking at the UK governments position on ‘The Council of Europe Convention on Action Against the Trafficking in Human Beings’.

The Council of Europe Convention on Action Against the Trafficking in Human Beings establishes legal rights for victims of trafficking. Countries that ratify the Convention must:
—Identify victims and provide assistance for their safety and physical and psychological recovery.
—Protect the victims when they take part in criminal proceedings.
—Punish traffickers.
—Actively prevent trafficking.

Cyprus became the 10th country to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings which means the convention will now come into force. Nine other countries – Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Georgia, Moldova, Romania and Slovakia had already ratified and it just needed ONE MORE COUNTRY to make it happen.

However, the British Government still has not ratified the convention. This is critical because only those countries that ratify the Convention are bound by it. The Convention is the first comprehensive European treaty in this field that focuses on the protection of victims of trafficking and the safeguarding of their human rights. It also aims to prevent trafficking and to prosecute traffickers. While the UK government delays victims in the UK are not entitled to the same level of protection and care afforded victims in these 10 countries. For a nation that prides itself in upholding human rights this is shocking. Most of the women who are trafficked to the UK for prostitution come from middle Europe, and the commitment of these countries to the Convention is a desperate cry for help.

Shame on the British Government for ignoring them.

If you feel strongly about this and want to make a difference then you can! just add your name to the petition available on the following link and tell the British Government that they need to act now:-  http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/ratify-the-convention-against-trafficking/sign.html

So, maybe the British Government could be doing more………   but what about the police effort in tackling Trafficking?
Well the evidence would suggest that the police have a real desire to tackle the traffickers and they have had some arrests and convictions. By way of example, two men were arrested in Cardiff during 2007 (and subsequently convicted) of running a Trafficking ring. We now have the current investigation surrounding the released five children, which incidently started through an investigation into internet porn. But let’s face it, with the official figures stating that 80 women (and children) a week are being trafficked in the UK, we have to ask ourselves if the success figures represent a sizeable percentage………    and if not, then why not?
Could it be something to do with the amount of resource (read – manpower, money, training) available to an already over-stretched police force?

let me know what you think…………..

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2 Comments

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