Catherine Bearder, Lib Dem Euro MP for South East England, has urged the European Commission and Member States to ensure trafficked children are given comprehensive and specialist support.
Hours after the Commission announced new legislation to stop the trafficking of children, Catherine called on the Commission and the European governments to prioritise the interests of the victims in its approach to tackling trafficking in Europe. At her hearing in the European Parliament on Tuesday 19th January, Commissioner-Designate for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström, announced the Commission will produce legislative proposals on how to tackle child trafficking before the end of the year.
Catherine said, "I want to urge both Council and Commission to be particularly vigilant in setting up supports for the victims of trafficking, in particular the specific needs of trafficked children - which studies have shown are quite different to those of trafficked adults."
"There are children in my own region who are trafficked, but we find that even after registration with social services, many disappear - because they remain under the control of the traffickers who find it too easy to take them again for re-trafficking. A comprehensive and specialist approach to their protection and long term support is the only way to combat this."
"In the UK, 325 children were identified as being potential victims of trafficking last year, this of course is not to mention the many that were trafficked but not identified by the local authorities. These are people are voiceless and vulnerable and they are relying on the European Union to speak out for them and stop this abhorrent crime."
"I will be scrutinising with interest what I hope will be far reaching proposals by the Commission in this area."