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Liz hails historic step in battle against slavery as Britain backs trafficking directive

May 13, 2011 4:36 PM

Anti-slavery campaigners and Lib Dem Euro MP Liz Lynne have praised the Government after the UK finally approved a new EU directive to fight human trafficking.

After winning the agreement of Coalition ministers and then the all-party European Scrutiny Committee in the House of Commons last week, Britain will now formally apply to sign up.

The move follows a long battle to convince Conservative ministers in the Coalition Government that the final text of the new law to enforce tougher international efforts to fight the so-called modern slave trade met their concerns.

Liz Lynne, a longstanding campaigner against human trafficking, said she was delighted.

"This is a historic week in the battle against slavery which Britain has been in the forefront of since Wilberforce in the nineteenth century.

"I congratulate the Home Secretary in putting ideology aside to champion this decision within the LibDem-Conservative coalition government.

"This law is very bad news for evil trafficking gangs which have blighted our cities and as we have seen in recent cases, also operated in small towns in counties like Worcestershire and Herefordshire.

"The definition of Trafficking will now cover selling a person as a beggar or pickpocket, or for adoption, forced marriage or harvesting of organs for transplant.

"The directive will greatly help police and prosecutors across Europe to take joint action to put these despicable criminals behind bars."

"MEPs also insisted that victims receive extra protection, maximising the chance that they will be able to help give robust evidence in prosecutions of those arrested.

"I'm glad that we managed to end up with a workable EU law which the UK government felt able to support. If this had not been done, cross-border police action would have been seriously hampered."

"The decision demonstrates the success of the Coalition Government's pragmatic approach to EU cooperation which LibDems pressed for."

ENDS