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Published on February 22nd, 2012 | by CCAT

Combating Human Trafficking is Meant to be a Priority for the Coalition

Peter (CCAT chair) writes ‘Last Thursday I was invited to a House of Commons debate covering the first recently issued inter-departmental government report on trafficking.
‘It wasn’t well attended by MPs (last day of parliament before Christmas) but those who were there were well informed and passionate about the UK doing more than is happening at the moment.
‘I was impressed that party lines were largely forgotten and there was general agreement that the government should not mark its own homework and appoint an independent rapporteur as is the case in several European countries.
‘The need for communities to develop awareness was mentioned several times so this indicates we in Croydon are doing the right things.
‘The chair of the session summarised with some encouraging words and suggestions for the Immigration Minister Mark Harper as follows:

I want to ask the Minister for progress in a number of areas. Can he talk to the Prime Minister, who has made human trafficking a priority for the coalition, about the advantages of driving the issue with not only his interdepartmental ministerial group but an independent rapporteur? We could learn something from those countries that have a rapporteur because, if we had one, does the Minister not concede that we might soon begin to get much more frequent and accurate data? Might we not also focus on proactive police investigations? We know what reply he gave my hon. Friend the Member for Slough—that we should all chase after our police and crime commissioners—but what guidance do the Minister and the Government have for such rating of police activity? What are the Minister’s plans for improved training of police and border staff? What target will he set for prosecutions? Deterrence has not yet featured in Government plans. What plans does he have to examine critically and, therefore, to extend the help and protection we give to those slaves who come forward to claim their freedom?

I end with the point made by the hon. Member for Wellingborough. Combating human trafficking is meant to be a priority of the coalition Government but, if so, it is one of their best kept secrets. No topic could be more important, not only as a priority for the coalition Government and the House of Commons but for the country. There would be huge support in the country if the Government wished to make it a priority. I hope, therefore, that we witness a Pauline conversion from the Minister and that we leave the debate with much lighter hearts and even greater determination to support him in his work.’

Source:  Peter, CCAT chair


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