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Human Trafficking must be pushed up agenda, say British-Irish Parliamentarians

Added 29-Oct-2013

In a report published today, Tuesday 29 October 2013, members of the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly (BIPA) say governments, administrations and Parliamentarians must raise the profile of the crime of human trafficking, and co-ordinate and redouble efforts to bring it to an end.

The report, from the BIPA Environmental and Social Committee comes as the UK Home Secretary has announced tougher sanctions for human trafficking and exploitation. The tragic case of a girl trafficked from Somalia into the UK so that organised gangs could harvest her organs for transplant surgery is only the most recent case highlighting the need for further action now.

The key findings of the report include:


  • Co-operation across the jurisdictions of the UK and Ireland is vital as the problem does not respect borders;
  • Awareness needs to be further raised – both among the public and those in frontline roles, including the police, likely to engage with victims and perpetrators of trafficking;
  • Co-ordination must increase – multiple agencies deal with human trafficking and it is essential that they work together effectively. Some good examples of co-ordination were seen but could be more widespread;
  • Data collection needs to be improved to give a more accurate picture of the scale and to assist with the identification of trends;
  • Conviction rates for trafficking must be improved and issues of demand must be addressed; and
  • Law enforcement agencies must do more to build up good relationships with possible victims of trafficking.


The Committee also calls on private companies such as airlines, rail and shipping lines to do more to tackle human trafficking. In an investigation over the last year that took evidence in the capitals of all the nations of the UK and the Republic of Ireland, the members heard concerns about how often and how effectively airlines in particular are cooperating with anti-trafficking investigations.

Lord Dubs, Chair of the Committee, said: “This is an abominable and cruel trade in human beings and every effort must be made, within and between our nations, to put an end to it forever. Despite some positive efforts to date, this report highlights the need for greater co-ordinated action now. Human beings cannot be treated in this way.

"The crucial thing here is follow up to raise the profile of this issue in all our nations and across the EU: the members of this Assembly will be presenting this report to governments and administrations in each of their jurisdictions so that we can further improve co-ordination of efforts to catch, prosecute and convict the perpetrators of this modern day slave trade, and to ensure that we do our best for its victims.

"We will also be following up with European Commissioner Malmström to push Parliamentarians from across the EU to work together to combat human trafficking.”

Download Committee D Report on Human Trafficking

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