Green Euro MP Jean Lambert, today welcomed the Home Office's launch of a public consultation on the national action plan against human trafficking, but urged the Government to ensure victims are given the support and protection they urgently need.
Jean, who was named MEP 2005 for Justice and Human Rights in October last year said: "The Government's plan to tackle human trafficking and possibly grant victims automatic permission to stay in the UK rather than be deported, is a welcome step forward demonstrating the Government may have been listening to what people want.
"However, it is vital that trafficking in human beings is recognised as a violation of human rights and not an immigration problem. The people involved are victims of an appalling crime and their needs and recognition of their vulnerability must be at the heart of UK law and Government policy. It is essential that the practitioners working with the victims have the necessary resources to offer the highest standards of support and protection.
"As a first step I urge the Government to sign the Council of Europe's European Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings, providing victims with guaranteed standards of protection including; a 30 day reflection period in which to decide whether or not to testify, specialist support and aid such as medical care and housing, as well as temporary residence permits for those at risk in their countries of origin or individuals prepared to co-operate against those suspected of committing the crimes in question.
"Sadly human trafficking is a global, organised crime that does not recognise boundaries or nationalities. This is happening just yards from where we all live and work. We must encourage and support victims to stand up against the perpetrator and work together to stamp out such atrocious activities."
For more information please contact:
Morwenna Holland, Media Officer
tel: 020 7407 6280 or 07813149812
Notes to editors:
Jean Lambert: In October 2005 Jean was named MEP 2005 for Justice and Human Rights. Jean was first elected Green Party Member of the European Parliament for London in the 1999 European elections. She was re-elected in 2004. She is one of nine MEPs representing London and one of two UK Green representatives in the European Parliament.