Bishops welcome Tory support for European Convention against trafficking

 In response to the Conservative Party's call on the Government to sign the 2005 European Convention Against Trafficking, Bishops Christopher Budd, and Patrick O'Donoghue said: "The Conservative Party's call on the government to sign the European Convention Against Trafficking recognises that at the heart of the problem is the issue of protection and reparation for its victims. In the past similar calls were made by the Catholic Bishops' Conference and other specialised NGOs. The Commons Early Day Motion (452) of 2005 also called on the government to sign the European Convention. We welcome the support of the Conservative Party. "Hundreds of women, children and men are trafficked to the UK each year into sexual exploitation and other forms of forced labour. Trafficking in human beings is a vicious crime that destroys the lives, hopes and aspirations of people. Many of its victims are women and children, often the poorest and most vulnerable members of the human family. "We appreciate that it is possible for the UK to have a human rights based approach to combating human trafficking outside the Convention. However, adherence to the Convention, in concert with other countries of Europe, will strengthen the framework on anti-trafficking policy in the UK. The phenomenon has an international dimension and can best be addressed by the joint efforts of all countries concerned. We see no convincing argument against signing the Convention. "This year is the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade, an opportune time for the UK to show that it is committed to ending this modern form of slavery." Research soon to be published by the Home Office suggests that at any one time in 2003, there were about 4,000 victims of trafficking for prostitution in the UK. End Child Prostitution and Trafficking (ECPAT) study revealed that social services in 32 out of 33 London Boroughs were concerned about trafficked children in their care. The European Convention guarantees victims of trafficking: a reflection period (breathing space) of at least 30 days during which they can receive support to aid their recovery, including safe housing and emergency medical support; and temporary residence permits for trafficked people who may be in danger if they are returned to their country, and/or if it is necessary to assist criminal proceedings. In March 2006, the Catholic Bishops' Conference called on the Government to sign and ratify the European Convention Against Trafficking Source: CCN

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