Call for UK to back new ‘tougher’ EU trafficking law

4 December 2010

Anti-Slavery International is calling on the British Government to adopt a new anti-trafficking law, approved by the European Parliament today (Tuesday 14 December), which would result in stiffer penalties for traffickers and better protection for victims.

The UK Government has previously stated that it was not willing to reconsider its decision to ‘opt out’ of the new trafficking legislation until it had been formally approved by the European Parliament.

The ‘EU Directive on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Human Beings and Protecting Victims’ will bolster current international anti-trafficking law by broadening definitions of trafficking to include people forced into begging or illicit activities. The directive also ensures comparable standards across the EU for the prosecution of traffickers and the protection of victims within criminal proceedings.

If incorporated into British law the directive would create extra provisions to protect the victims of trafficking, including witness protection. The directive would also help increase prosecutions of traffickers by extending the scope of extraterritorial jurisdiction and allow criminal proceeds to be confiscated to pay for victim compensation.

Klara Skrivankova, Anti-Slavery International’s Trafficking Programme Co-ordinator, said: “To successfully combat trafficking the UK must recognise that it can not go it alone. Traffickers do not respect national borders, which is why it so important to strengthen the response to this crime across Europe. It is in the interests of the UK to adopt tougher legislation designed to give Britain the tools it needs to fight the trafficking of men, women and children into forced labour and sexual exploitation.”

For further media information contact: Paul Donohoe, Anti-Slavery International: +44 20 7501 8934, +44 7779 624385 p.donohoe@antislavery.org

To read the European Parliament press release click here

Notes for Editors

Anti-Slavery International is the world’s oldest human rights organisation and campaigns for the eradication of slavery, exposing current cases, supporting local organisations to release the minimum 12.3 million people in slavery, and the implementation of international laws against slavery. www.antislavery.org