Coalition will not endorse EU directive against trafficking

// 31 August 2010


The Guardian reports that the coalition government has chosen not to opt in to the EU directive designed to coordinate efforts to combat human trafficking, suggesting that the Tories’ euroscepticism is to blame. But as Klara Skrivankova of charity Anti-Slavery International says, “Without international co-operation, the government will lose the battle with the traffickers. By choosing not to opt in to the directive, the government is failing in its efforts to combat this transnational crime.”

A Home Office spokesman claims that “By not opting in now but reviewing our position when the directive is agreed, we can choose to benefit from being part of a directive that is helpful but avoid being bound by measures that are against our interests.” Quite what terrible fate might befall the UK if we agree to work with other European countries or – horror of horrors – eventually be bound by EU-wide laws designed to protect vulnerable people from traffickers is anyone’s guess.

The International Labour Organisation estimates that there are:

…at least 2.45 million people in forced labour as a result of trafficking in persons. Most people are trafficked into forced labour for commercial sexual exploitation (43%) or various reasons (25%). The remainder (32%) are victims of trafficking for economic exploitation. Women and girls represent 56% of victims of forced economic exploitation, while men and boys represent 44%. As regards forced commercial sexual exploitation, an overwhelming majority (98%) are women and girls.

You can read more on the directive here.

Comments From You

Jennifer Drew // Posted 31 August 2010 at 10:54 pm

Not in the least surprised the male-dominated coalition government has decided not to opt in on EU directive on trafficking – of which female sexual slavery is the most profitable enterprise for the traffickers.

Tackling trafficking of women into sexual slavery has never been an important issue within the conservative party because reducing immigration is considered far more important. Mustn’t have female victims of sexual slavery given the opportunity of remaining in this country must we. Because this is what the EU directive proposes.

sianushka // Posted 1 September 2010 at 8:56 am

this is shit. so so shit.

why are the coalition putting daily mail, UKIP nonsense scaremongering about europe above helping vulnerable people?

i distinctly remember cheering nick clegg on the TV as he explained why he was pro europe. it was precisely because of initiatives like this where europe could work together to fight crime such as paedophilia and trafficking. i cheered and i ticked lib dem on my ballot paper.

i feel betrayed, yet again,

coldharbour // Posted 1 September 2010 at 7:27 pm

“why are the coalition putting daily mail, UKIP nonsense scaremongering about europe above helping vulnerable people?”

Because they’re a bunch of self-serving right-wing assholes pandering to the tabloid reading public. I don’t think the Lib Dems have a shred of credibility after selling out to the Tories for a meagre piece of the power pie.

Elmo // Posted 1 September 2010 at 11:03 pm

I always viewed the lib dems as a party to join if u wanted to be a politician. Not with any particular beliefs or views or opinions, just a politician.

coldharbour // Posted 2 September 2010 at 9:47 am

@Jennifer re:

“Not in the least surprised the male-dominated coalition government has decided not to opt in on EU directive on trafficking – of which female sexual slavery is the most profitable enterprise for the traffickers.”

Also I think if the Conservative Party proves anything it’s that ones biological sex isn’t necessarily the demarcation point for whether you subscribe to gender equality or not, I’m old enough to remember a certain biological female that was the ‘poster woman’ for kyriarchal capitalism for a very long period in time. If you you think more biological females in the Conservative government would make their rule more conducive with womans rights point out a single one to me you think is a feminist. I think it’s somewhat missing the point though, the Conservative Party’s stance on trafficking is in relation to their class interests rather than their ambivalence to gender equality, poor peoples interests come last at all times regardless of their gender.

zavvi // Posted 2 September 2010 at 4:02 pm

Actually I don’t think this is necessarily bad. The directive has not been drawn up yet, who sins a contract before knowing what the T&Cs are? If it turns out to be a good directive and they still don’t opt in, then it’s a problem.

Vera Baird // Posted 6 September 2010 at 3:58 pm

The Ministry of Justice press release on why they are opting out of the directive says “Opting in would make mandatory the provisions which are currently discretionary in UK law, reducing scope for professional discretion and flexibility” Cant think why they dont say what “the provisions” we wouldnt want to be mandated to follow are? YOu guessed. They are about signing up to let proven trafficking victims have some occupation rights in the UK.

Their refusal to do so chimes nastily in with another piece of coalition policy commented upon this morning. Shelter research published today says that 54000 children who are already living below the poverty line will be made even poorer by the Coalition cuts to housing benefit. Shelter Chief Executive Campbell Robb describes that as “A hammer blow to any desire to get children out of poverty”

If the Con-Dems arent bothered about poor kids at home they are certainly not going to be bothered about poor victimised adults from abroad.

Sheila // Posted 6 September 2010 at 10:10 pm


Vera, what’s the European socialist vote looking like? Are the tactics going to change on this because of the Belgian presidency? Even if the Con-Dems vote it down, what are the chances that the directive will go through any way? I’m less concerned with disappointment over our national politics and more concerned to see if there is a way we can campaign at the Brussels level to make sure that our small national influence in Europe gets defeated on this occasion. Would be great to see you active in this arena.

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