Local police and the UK Border Agency have announced that the 'biggest ever' sex trafficking raid has been carried out in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire and Surrey.
Responding to the announcement local Euro MP Catherine Bearder, who campaigns across South East England to raise awareness of people trafficking, commented:
"I congratulate the police and the UK Border Agency for carrying out this raid so successfully."
"Trafficking is happening in our communities but it is nearly always unseen."
"Earlier this year Oxford saw a man convicted of trafficking women for sexual exploitation."
"Thankfully the UK signed up to the EU's Anti-Trafficking Directive so the police and anti-trafficking organizations will have the powers they need to really stop this horrendous crime."
1 Catherine Bearder MEP has launched a campaign to Stamp out Trafficking at our Olympics. Large sporting events, such as Olympics and World Cups, have been shown to lead to a rise in human trafficking, primarily to satisfy the increased demand in the sex industry.
2 The new EU trafficking directive (that the UK has opted in to) introduces a maximum sentence of 10 years instead of 8, much better care for child victims and an EU anti-trafficking coordinator. 'Trafficking' will now cover selling a person as a beggar or pickpocket, or for adoption, forced marriage or harvesting of organs for transplant as well as for sex or labour.
3 The UK only participates in EU Justice & Home Affairs legislation when it chooses to, and there are two opportunities for the UK to opt in on any measure. The UK government announced in June that it would not opt in to the new EU anti-trafficking law at the beginning of negotiations, but after seeing the final text of the directive has decided it is in the UK's interest to opt-in.
4 The coalition agreement says: 'We will approach forthcoming legislation in the area of criminal justice on a case-by-case basis, with a view to maximising our country's security, protecting Britain's civil liberties and preserving the integrity of our criminal justice system.'