Conservatives demand action to stamp out people trafficking

Conservative women are wholeheartedly throwing themselves into global campaigns with a social conscience, they are taking on the barons and warlords of people trafficking.

This might be an issue that doesn’t touch the daily lives of most people, but it is high on the agenda for Conservatives who want to help stamp out what is estimated to be a $9.5 billion annual trade of depravation and exploitation.

Today they launched their poster including a Crimestoppers’ hotline number to highlight people trafficking, the fact that there are 8,5000 trafficked prostitutes in London charging £15 for sex.

It was launched at the Conservative Women’s Organisation’s conference at the same time as Eleanor Laing, Shadow Minister for Women and Equality, was challenging Ruth Kelly in the House of Commons on what the Government was doing about this controversial issue, the fact that they should be setting up a national hotline.

Rather than wait, the Conservatives have taken a lead on this themselves. And William Hague spoke passionately about the significance behind the campaign.

He mentioned the plight of a 15-year-old Lithuanian girl who came to England believing she was going to sell ice cream, but was sold seven times in three months for decreasing amounts.

He talked about how international Governments and police forces could work together to stamp out people trafficking and the illegal sex trade, how rape was used as “a weapon of mass destruction”, ruining the lives of their shamed victims, the importance of offering education and hope as an escape.

He said:

After narcotics, it equals arms dealing as the second largest criminal industry in the world and is the fastest growing. It is closely connected with other illegal activities such as money laundering, drugs trafficking and document forgery and is estimated by the FBI to generate around $9.5 billion a year in revenue. On a human-scale the statistics are worse still: approximately 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year and of these, 80% are women and girls.”

He described it as the modern day slavery, that we must protect victims:

“This new slavery is of course illegal, operated by vast criminal networks and has the potential to weaken governments and the rule of law. To reduce the trade we must disrupt the market forces of demand and supply; making the rewards less lucrative, while increasing the risks of capture, and simultaneously reducing demand. And we must not forget the victims of trafficking who require support and rehabilitation.

“Over the past two years the government has been proactive in their approach to combat human trafficking and their initiatives are to be welcomed. But the problem in the UK shows signs of actually worsening. Earlier this year when the police force ran a three month campaign to tackle trafficking for sexual exploitation they rescued 84 women, forced to work against their will in brothels and massage parlours…”

This is the kind of issue modern Conservatives are going to be strong on, they want their social responsibility voice to be heard loud and clear. It’s one I am totally behind, let’s hope it makes a difference.

P.S. I have a full copy of William Hague’s speech which I can email to anyone interested, there is lots more interesting info included.

I have seen David Cameron speak twice recently, and whenever he mentions how glad he is that William Hague is back on the Shadow bench, there is always a spontaneous and rapturous applause. Even my two teenage sons think he is the bees knees, he obviously has a magical formula which people of all ages find pleasing, it is great to see how widely admired he is.