Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

PM urged to back trafficking moves

David Cameron should endorse an EU directive to tackle sex trafficking, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper is to say

Prime Minister David Cameron should stop pandering to anti-European sentiments within his party and endorse an EU directive on sex trafficking, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper is to say.

Ms Cooper will condemn the Government's failure to back the measures which aim to co-ordinate European efforts to combat the trade in sex slaves.

She will also outline Labour's approach to tackling human trafficking as millions of people prepare to head to the UK for next year's Olympic Games.

The shadow home secretary will also raise concerns over changes to the UK Human Trafficking Centre and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (Ceop) centre.

In her speech at the Stopping Traffick '11 conference in central London, Ms Cooper will say: "David Cameron must stop pandering to anti-European prejudices in some parts of his party and sign the directive.

"The Olympic Games, dismantling of the UK Human Trafficking Centre and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre and the deep cuts to voluntary groups will all make ending trafficking of vulnerable women and girls a greater challenge. That's why the Government should back tough new measures and Europe-wide action."

She will add: "Now more than ever we need increased leadership and determined action from this Government if one of the most heinous crimes in today's society is to be stopped."

Conference organisers said almost 4,000 women are brought into the UK each year to work within the sex trade, but Britain was one of only two EU member states that have not opted into the directive.

Immigration Minister Damian Green said: "We are committed to tackling human trafficking and have already put in place many of the commitments that the directive requires.

"We are currently looking closely at the latest draft of the directive and considering its merits. If we conclude that opting in brings benefits to the UK, we will apply to do so."

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