Silent Slavery:

Stop the Trafficking of women and children for sexual exploitation in London

A conference co- hosted by Jenny Jones AM (Green Party Member, London Assembly)
and Jean Lambert, Green MEP (London)

City Hall, Queen's Walk, London
Friday 20th June 2003










On the 20th June 2003, we hosted a conference at London's City Hall on the Trafficking of women and children for sexual exploitation in London.

The trafficking of women and children for sexual exploitation is a high-profit, low-risk trade dominated by organised criminals. It results in women and children being exploited in slavery-like conditions in the UK's - but chiefly London's - sex industry, for the use and abuse of British men.

This conference was open to individuals and groups who believe we should work together to stamp out this slavery. It was an opportunity for those who work in this area to share their experiences: European experts, NGOs, police officers, immigration officers, women's and children's campaign groups and organizations. We also welcomed the views of elected leaders, sex-workers' support groups, health and welfare officers.

Speakers included:

· Patsy Sorensen MEP, the European Parliament's specialist in EU Human Trafficking policy;
· Assistant Commissioner Tarique Gahffur, UK's Metropolitan Police Service;
· Rob Coster, Dutch Police Department's National Co-ordinator on prostitution and trafficking;
· Denise Marshall, Director, EAVES Housing for Trafficked Women;
· Carron Somerset, ECPAT (Trafficking of Children) UK;
· Anni Marjoram, The Mayor's women Advisor and the Immigration Service.

The Government's Sex Offences Bill will be introducing more comprehensive offences of trafficking for sexual exploitation. We were concerned to ask those working on the ground whether the proposed measures are enough to tackle this problem - will they work? The conference established three working groups to consider these questions:

· Does the Government's approach consider the gross violation of human rights that is occurring?
· Do the proposals meet the standards of best practice in the European Union?
· Do they offer appropriate support to victims and how will London be addressing the issue?
· What could be improved?

The conference working groups have produced a series of robust recommendations for the UK Government which we enclose now for action. A list of attendees at the conference are included with the recommendations.




Introduction from hosts

Session 1: Policy makers and implementors


Patsy Sorensen MEP
The European Parliament's expert on Trafficking


Rob Coster
Dutch Police National Coordinator on Trafficking


Asst Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur MPS
UK's Metropolitan Police Service


Home Office representative

Session 2: The Victims and Victim suppport


Denise Marhsall
Director, EAVES Housing Working with Trafficked Women


Carron Somerset, ECPAT UK
Working with Trafficked Children

Session 3: Recommendations to Government/ Towards a London Strategy


Discussion Workshops

Session 4: Conference Recommendations and London's Plan


Feedback workshop recommendations


Ani Marjoram
Mayor's Adviser on Women





View conference recommendations web page

Download the conference recommendations (pdf format)



Patsy Sorensen MEP - international expert on trafficking issues

Patsy is an international expert on trafficking issues and has worked with victims for years through a project based in Antwerp. She has gone undercover in to some of the countries of origin to trace the trafficking gangs and her life has been under threat on many occasions. She works closely with police forces in many parts of the world to help up break up trafficking rings. As a member of the Committee on Citizen's Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs, she was given the report on the Commission's proposal on short-term residence permits for victims of trafficking. Patsy's report was accepted by Parliament this year and has caused much debate within the European Council.


Rob Coster - National Coordinator on Prostitution and Trafficking in human beings for the Dutch police.

Rob is the chief superintendent of the Dutch Police Force and has worked for almost 30 years at the force, most of the time in the Organised Crime Units. Since 1998 he has been involved in the law enforcement unit on trafficking in human beings and in Jan 01 he became the National Coordinator on Prostitution and Trafficking in human beings for the Dutch police.


Denise Marshall - Chief Executive, Eaves Housing For Women

Denise has approximately 20 years experience of working within the voluntary sector in London. Denise has worked within women's organisations, including Women's Aid and has experience of working with young lesbians and gay men and ex-offenders.
Eaves Housing For Women undertook a service review in March 2001 which identified a gap in service provision for trafficked women. In December 2001 Eaves accepted it's first trafficked woman. Since this time and prior to the Pilot Project Eaves accepted another 5 trafficked women which have been financially supported by donations and Eaves reservces.


Carron Somerset, Campaign Officer, ECPAT UK (End Child Prostitution, Pornography and Trafficking).

With a background in development issues, Carron Somerset worked for Anti-Slavery International, as a volunteer on their Africa and Women's desk for 6 months, prior to joining ECPAT UK. For the past 3 ½ years at ECPAT UK, Carron has worked on a range of issues including the Register of Sex Offenders, and child sex tourism. Carron first became involved in the issue of trafficking whilst researching the document 'What the Professionals Know: The Trafficking of Children into and through the UK for Sexual Purposes', which was produced in 2001. Since then Carron has continued to research the issue and is currently updating the first report in a joint European project with includes ECPAT UK working with an Albanian organisation. Additionally, Carron is researching the issue of trafficking in children in relation to London based social services and aims to produce a report to later this year.



Download the following presentations (in powerpoint)

Patsy Sorensen MEP - presentation on international trafficking rings and EU response

Rob Coster - Dutch solution to human trafficking



The conference was widely advertised and attended by many individuals and organisations. The latter included:

Akina Mama Wa Afrika
Amnesty International, Hillingdon
Anti Slavery International
Ashiana Project
Black Women & Europe Network
Children Asylum Team
Czech Embassy
Ealing Women's Aid
Embassy of Albania
Embassy of Bosnia
Embassy of Georgia
London Assembly
Green Party England and Wales
Hillingdon Social Services
Lambeth Green Party
League of Jewish Women
London Probation
Metropolitan Police Authority
Middlesex University
Philosophy Programme Senate
POPPY project management
Refugee Action
Refugee Council
Researchers in contemporary
slavery Goldsmiths College
RWRP Asylum Aid
Street Matters NSPCC
The Bail Circle
The Children's Society
Unicef UK
Women's Aid
Women's Design Service


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