Target:
UK Government
Region:
GLOBAL
Website:
www.helenbamber.org

If the slave trade was abolished in the UK over 200 years ago, why are more than
80 women trafficked here every week and sold for sexual exploitation?

These women are fleeing from conflict, poverty and family abuse and are often
lured by false promises of education and employment abroad. On arrival they
are beaten or raped into submission, then forcibly and repeatedly sold for sex.

They have had to endure unimaginable acts of cruelty. They are psychologically and physically damaged but too frightened and ashamed to ask for help.

If they try to escape, traffickers threaten to attack their families. If they do escape, the UK authorities provide no immediate protection, often threatening to return them home where the traffickers are waiting for them.


The Council of Europe Convention on Action Against the Trafficking in Human Beings establishes legal rights for victims of trafficking. Countries that ratify the Convention must:

• Identify victims and provide assistance for their safety and physical and psychological recovery.

• Protect the victims when they take part in criminal proceedings;

• Punish traffickers;

• Actively prevent trafficking.

Cyprus has become the 10th country to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings which means it will now come into force. Nine other countries - Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Georgia, Moldova, Romania and Slovakia had already ratified and it just needed ONE MORE COUNTRY to make it happen.

Despite massive popular support for our installation JOURNEY in Trafalgar Square, the British Government still has not ratified the convention. This is critical because only those countries that ratify the Convention are bound by it. The Convention is the first comprehensive European treaty in this field that focuses on the protection of victims of trafficking and the safeguarding of their human rights. It also aims to prevent trafficking and to prosecute traffickers. While the UK government delays victims in the UK are not entitled to the same level of protection and care afforded victims in these 10 countries. For a nation that prides itself in upholding human rights this is shocking.

Most of the women who are trafficked to the UK for prostitution come from middle Europe, and the commitment of these countries to the Convention is a desperate cry for help. Shame on the British Government for ignoring them.

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