Derek Vaughan MEP

Working hard for Wales in Europe

Coalition human trafficking u-turn a “missed opportunity”

Welsh Labour MEP, Derek Vaughan, has criticised the UK Tory-Lib Dem Coalition Government for taking so long to finally opt-in to EU proposals cracking down on human trafficking.

His comments came after the UK finally decided to overturn its initial decision to stand aside from negotiations that will enable countries across Europe to work together to protect vulnerable people who are illegally traded and exploited in a modern-day form of slavery.

Mr Vaughan, who organised a Wales-wide campaign encouraging people to write to their local MPs asking them to pressurise the Government to reverse their stance, gave a cautious welcome to the news:

He said:

"Whilst it is pleasing that the UK Government has finally agreed to adopt the measures being brought forward to combat such trafficking, the delay is very much a missed opportunity to strengthen the directive event further.

The vast majority of people being trafficked are women or children, often into prostitution or forced labour, and often for the profit of organised crime.  It has been unacceptable for the Government to drag their heels on this issue in order to massage the egos of a few rightwing Tory backbenchers.

Trafficking is a matter that crosses borders and continents and the only way to tackle it effectively is by working together with other countries.

By opting out of the directive, the UK lost its seat at the negotiating table and threw away the influence that we could have brought to bear on the final proposals.  It is sad that it took so much time and energy from campaigners, opposition politicians and ordinary people to make them see that they had made a mistake in putting their Eurosceptic dogma ahead of the clear need to deal with this growing problem.”

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