"I am pleased to be able to support the campaign against Human Trafficking and have signed the petition today," said Catherine. "This dreadful trade has to be stopped and the EU must act to do so. I am pleased that the ALDE group in the EP is taking action on this issue, as can be seen from their Press Release below.
Three actions to mark the EU Day Against Human Trafficking
Liberals and Democrats in the European Parliament have launched a campaign today to mark the first EU Day against Human Trafficking (on 18th October) which aims to raise awareness to fight this form of organised crime. Every year an estimated amount of well-over two million people, mostly women and children fall victim to human trafficking in the world. The ALDE campaign to fight this modern form of slavery is composed of several actions.
Firstly, the ALDE, together with the NGO "Stop The Traffik", calls on all EU citizens to sign the Global Initiative To Fight Trafficking, in view of collecting one million signatures, which will be presented to the UN Secretary General in February 2008. This petition can be found on the website www.alde.eu and it would commit world leaders to a major campaign of action.
Secondly, ALDE Members tabled an amendment to the EU 2008 Budget calling for two million euros to be set aside for the creation of a single EU telephone number that would be available across all Member States. This free of charge hotline will ensure that victims of human trafficking can receive social, psychological and legal assistance from professionals, wherever they are across Europe. "This is a concrete way to assist all the victims of human trafficking across Europe, by putting our words into actions. Parliament's Budget committee has already approved this amendment and the ALDE calls on the plenary to confirm the vote at next week's session", said Karin RIIS-JORGENSEN (Venstre, Denmark), one of the key initiators of the ALDE campaign.
Thirdly, the ALDE urges Member States to sign and ratify the Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Human Trafficking in Human Beings. For the time being, only 18 Member States have signed the Convention and only five of them have ratified it. "Member States have different legislation which is allowing the traffickers to exploit the loopholes in the system. It is necessary for the European Union to speak with one voice and this legal instrument could be an excellent tool. The European Commission must also be given the powers and backing to draw up coherent and effective European-wide laws to stop this modern day slavery," said Silvia CIORNEI, who has also initiated the ALDE campaign.
The campaign cumulates from a variety of other initiatives ALDE has taken this year in fighting human trafficking, among which a cross-party EP Written Declaration initiated by the Group, a public hearing on how to improve EU legislation in this field and oral questions addressed to the European Commission.