1st April 2010 marks one year since the UK government implemented the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (CoE). This provides a broad agenda for preventing human trafficking, protecting trafficking victims, and prosecuting traffickers, whilst working in multi-agency partnership. 1st April 2010 also marks one year since the UK government implemented the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), through which potential human trafficking victims are referred and identified. These form part of a wider set of anti-trafficking measures outlined in the UK Action Plan on Tackling Human Trafficking (UKAP).
1st April 2010 also sees changes in UK law. Under the Policing and Crime Act, it is now illegal to pay for sex with someone who is being exploited, including human trafficking victims. And under the Coroners and Justice Act, it is now illegal to hold someone in slavery, servitude, or forced labour, including human trafficking victims.
Whilst STOP THE TRAFFIK welcomes the commitments the UK government has signed up to, there are some areas where more could be done, and we look forward to the upcoming report of the Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Group (ATMG), a coalition of charities that is checking how effectively the UK is doing its job.
1. More could be done to prevent human trafficking in source countries. STOP THE TRAFFIK has its Start Freedom campaign, educating young people about the dangers of human trafficking – what is the government doing?
2. More could be done to raise awareness in local communities. STOP THE TRAFFIK is setting up Active Communities against Trafficking (ACT), working with local police forces to gather information – what is the government doing?
3. More could be done to tackle human trafficking in supply chains. STOP THE TRAFFIK is campaigning against child trafficking in the cocoa industry, successful with Cadbury’s, Mars, and Nestlé – what is the government doing?
Whichever country or community you are in, write to your local government representative. Tell them what STOP THE TRAFFIK is doing, and ask them what they are doing about human trafficking. Let us know how it goes!