Local MP leads the way to stop international sex trade


Mr Colman has been working with UNIFEM (United Nations Development Fund for Women) to highlight the number of women who are smuggled into the UK and who are then forced into prostitution in order to pay their debts to the traffickers - amounts up to £15,000.

UNIFEM-UK Chairman Lois Hainsworth said: "I am very grateful for Tony Colman MP for taking the initiative - we really need legislation to recommend higher penalties for traffickers. Trafficking in women has become a global phenomenon and is the world's largest violation of human rights."

She added, "It is a huge business with profits on a par with those gained from drug trafficking. Victims of this trade are brought from developing countries, and find themselves in debt bondage in degrading conditions."

Speaking on Wednesday, Mr Colman said:

"I am very pleased at the amount of support my Motion is attracting. I have been asking everyone I meet to sign, or to ask their MP to sign the motion. The more signatures we can get, the more pressure there will be on the Home Secretary to do more to combat this disgusting trade in women and children. I am hoping we can double the number of MPs who have signed.

The broad aim of the campaign is to attract attention to the trade in human traffic, and the terrible circumstances that many women have to endure, after they have been tricked into leaving their homes for a supposedly better life."

There have been hints that the Home Secretary will take on board some of Mr Colman and UNIFEM's proposals in the forthcoming white paper, for example, longer sentences for traffickers.

The text of the Motion is found below:

That this House condemns the high level of trafficking of women into the UK for exploitation in the sex trade; commends UNIFEM for bringing this issue to the fore; congratulates the International Labour Organisation and the United Nations Information Centre on the occasion of Human Rights Day, 10th December, for its declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and its longstanding efforts to protect and promote human rights in the field of employment; and supports the National Council of Women's call upon the Government to give urgent consideration to enacting penalties for specific crimes of sexual exploitation and the trafficking of women in their current review of the Sexual Offences Act; to enhance the penalties for coerced prostitution as recommended in the police research series paper 'Stopping traffic'; and to ensure that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office works with the Department for International Development to increase preventative campaigns in countries of origin by providing economic opportunities for women and raising awareness of the sex trade

A list of other signatories can be found at: http://edm.ais.co.uk/weblink/html/motion.html/ref=536