It has recently been announced that the Metropolitan Police’s Human Trafficking Team will not receive government funding after April 2009. STOP THE TRAFFIK sees this as a major setback in UK efforts to bring offenders to justice and rehabilitate the victims of human trafficking. The decision to close the Team has been criticised by members of parliament, including Chris Huhne MP, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Home Affairs and Dominic Grieve, Shadow Home Secretary.
It is estimated that as many as 4000 women are victims of trafficking into the UK for sexual exploitation at any one time. Without the vital activity of the Met’s Human Trafficking Team there will be no unit in London dedicated to the prosecution of human trafficking gangs and protection of the victims.
The Met’s Human Trafficking Team was created in March 2007 and has been very successful over the past eighteen months. In fact, the announcement of the team’s forthcoming closure comes soon after a landmark judgement was made, in which six men were awarded a combined total of 52 years prison sentence for the trafficking of a Slovakian teenager into prostitution in Britain. The government’s decision not to continue funding has seriously undermined their claim that combating human trafficking is a key priority.