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Euro MP welcomes Obama stand against human trafficking

January 17, 2012 11:24 AM

Barack ObamaWest Midlands Euro MP Liz Lynne has hailed a move by President Obama to declare January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month as a welcome sign of increased American support for the battle against the modern slave trade.

In a statement supporting the initiative, the White House pledged to work harder in efforts to stamp out trafficking networks in the US and around the world.

Lib Dem MEP Liz Lynne is a longstanding campaigner against human trafficking as shadow rapporteur for a European Parliament report and as author of written declarations and parliamentary questions on the issue.

She said: "I am delighted to see that recent progress to a co-ordinated attack on trafficking by the EU is being matched by this move by the Obama administration. Human trafficking is a global problem.

"Awareness raising is important but I hope the US government will also increase efforts by law enforcement agencies to arrest and convict trafficking gangs."

An EU Directive for a Europe-wide approach to trafficking in human beings was adopted last March and was signed up to by the UK government in May 2011.

Liz Lynne added: "As well as promoting public awareness, it is important to focus on better help for the victims, both to help them rebuild their lives and to obtain high quality evidence vital to successful prosecutions.

"Police and other agencies across Europe and America must co-operate in this work and step up action to prevent the predicted increase in trafficking during the Olympics this summer.

"Dedicated police work, public awareness and a victim-centered approach will help us fight modern slavery."

President Obama said: "We commit to bringing an end to this inexcusable human rights abuse. We re-dedicate ourselves to forging robust international partnerships that strengthen global anti-trafficking efforts."

ENDS

The UN estimates that between 700,000 and 2 million women and children are trafficked around the world each year with between 1000 and 4000 trafficked into the UK alone. Many are forced into prostitution or domestic servitude, others into slave labour in factories or on farms. Campaigners point to evidence that major sporting events such as the Olympics cause an increase in international sex trafficking in particular.