South East MEP Catherine Bearder has announced she will be launching a European Parliament report looking into the implementation of the EU's human trafficking law.
In a speech today in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, she stressed there were over 30,000 victims of human trafficking in the EU from 2010-2012, 80% of whom were women, and that not enough is being done to help them.
The EU's Anti-Trafficking Directive ensures that trafficked people are treated as victims, not as illegal immigrants, and are given the support they need. This includes safe accommodation, healthcare and support to help them take part in criminal proceedings and claim compensation.
The law came into force in the UK in 2011 after the Liberal Democrats campaigned strongly for the UK government to opt in. Catherine Bearder's report will look into whether it has been properly enforced in the UK and across the EU, focusing specifically on its impact on the women and girls that make up the overwhelming majority of trafficking victims.
Mrs Bearder said:
"Human trafficking is on the rise across Europe but still not enough is being done to crack down on this vile trade and ensure victims are protected.
"We need coordinated European action to rescue the victims and pursue the perpetrators.
"I want to make sure that all trafficking victims are given the support they need to return to a normal life and are not treated like criminals.
"These people are being controlled and sold like pieces of baggage, they deserve justice and to be treated with care and compassion."