Let’s stop sex trafficking
written by: Mike Magan
It is well known that major sporting events attract some of the worst in human behaviour -- trafficking in the sex trade. As thousands of people prepare to come to London for the 2012 Olympics with money in their pockets to burn, now is the time for government and local authorities to announce and take concrete steps to ensure that this illegal activity will not be tolerated and that pimps and clients will be prosecuted.
According to the International Justice Mission, “trafficking in humans generates profits in excess of 12 billion dollars a year for those who, by force and deception, sell human lives into slavery and sexual bondage. Nearly 2 million children are exploited in the commercial sex industry.”
Yesterday, Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper rightly focused on how the 2012 games will make London a magnet for human trafficking and challenged ministers to “launch an urgent crackdown” and criticized the Conservative led coalition for not doing enough.
Now is not the time for political posturing on an issue that so adversely affects the lives of innocent children.
Amid the current fiscal austerity, public-private partnerships are key in the fight against trafficking. Now is the time for government, local authorities, business groups, not-for-profits, and charity groups to actively build public awareness and promise to prosecute those who are pimps and those willing to pay for sex.
There is much to be said for local groups here in London like Stop the Traffik, a growing global movement working to “prevent the sale of people, protect the trafficked, and prosecute the traffickers.” With the government continuously consolidating and restructuring prevention and rehabilitation programs, bold organisations, like Stop the Traffik, are left to carry on the fight.
But with the Met’s specialist police human trafficking unit (Maxim) shut down under Labour in 2009 and Operation Golf (which focused on child exploitation) closed under the Coalition in December 2010, the UK is facing a shortfall in anti-corruption safeguards.
None of us are immune from this. It was recently reported that the Super Bowl in the United States, the largest sporting event of the year, is the biggest human trafficking event in the country. And it is not simply foreign nationals who are in danger of being trafficked. Although 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year, millions of vulnerable individuals are also exploited within their own countries.
While the EU directive and other tools like the annual Trafficking In Persons Report put out by the U.S. State department are important, more important is what we do now by enforcing existing laws and building public awareness to: Prevent, Protect and Prosecute.
Image(s) courtesy of: terroristplanet.com!