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Archbishop calls for supression of sex slave trade: The Church of England Newspaper, March 25, 2011 p 7. March 30, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Archbishop of York, Church of England Newspaper, Crime.

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Archbishop of York has applauded the government’s decision to rethink its policies on combating human trafficking and join forces with the EU in combating sex slavery.

On March 22 Immigration Minister Damian Green announced the government will apply to opt in to a Europe-wide effort to help tackle human trafficking.  “Opting in” to the EU Directive on Human Trafficking sends “a powerful message to traffickers that Britain is not a soft touch and that we remain world leaders in fighting this terrible crime,” the minister said.

Last year Dr. John Sentamu expressed dismay at the government’s decision to ‘opt out’ of the EU Directive. Writing in the Yorkshire Post on Sept 3 the archbishop said that “sex trafficking is nothing more than modern day slavery. This is women being exploited, degraded and subjected to horrific risks solely for the gratification and economic greed of others.”

He said he was “stunned to learn” of the coalition government’s decision.  “Generally, I am no great supporter of European directives, because of the supremacy of our Parliament, but this seems to be a common-sense directive designed to co-ordinate European efforts to combat the trade in sex slaves,” the archbishop said.

However the news this week of the government’s change of heart “delighted” Dr. Sentamu.  “I am pleased the Government now acknowledges that ‘opting in would send a powerful message to traffickers that Britain is not a soft touch’. Our Government should be ensuring Britain leads the way on tackling slavery, just like it did in the days of William Wilberforce,” he said.

“We need a united front against the traffickers, pimps and gangsters – and we must speak out for those that don’t have a voice. There should be no loopholes for those abusing and terrorizing the vulnerable,” the archbishop said, adding that he was pleased Britain “will now be joining with our European brothers and sisters and put an end to this evil trade.”

“At a time when fewer traffickers are being jailed than at any other time in the last 5 years, we need ambitious and binding legislation to make anti-trafficking policy more effective,” Dr. Sentamu said.

Mr. Green said Britain already carried out most of the EU measures to combat trafficking.  The government’s decision not to opt in last year, he explained, was due to the need to review the final text to “ensure that it would benefit the UK. This has now taken place,” said a statement released by the Home Office.

“Tackling human trafficking is a priority for the Government. The UK has an excellent record on fighting human trafficking and the organised criminals who profit from misery,” the immigration minister said.

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