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Human trafficking? So what IS human trafficking, Home Secretary?

by on January 16, 2009

WITH THE incessant fuss over human trafficking of ‘sex slaves’ in the UK – the Government having pumped £5.8 million into the Poppy Project alone since 2003 to help them – you’d think the powers that be might have a clue what they’re talking about on the subject.alan-campbell-mp-21

But no, it seems. The Government can’t quite decide what human trafficking actually is.

The confusion can be found in two very different Commons answers given by Home Office minister, Alan Campbell, to identical questions posed by two MPs 48 hours apart last month.

The question was, what was the Home Office’s “definition..of a person who has been trafficked?”

It was first asked by Neil Gerrard MP on December 16, neil-gerrard-mp1when Campbell replied:

“The Department considers a victim of human trafficking to be an individual who has been subjected to the crimes set out in sections 57-60 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003…”

But 48 hours later, Campbell’s answer became:

“The UK uses the definition of trafficking set out in the Protocol to the 2000 UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime…….” [for non-geeks, that’s the Palermo Protocol].

john-mcdonnell-mpThat was in answer to John McDonnell MP, a long-time advocate of the need to drag UK sex industry laws forward, possibly into even as far as the middle of the last century.

There is a WORLD of difference between these two definitions!

The Palermo Protocol is a carefully crafted piece of English, honed by experts in jurisprudence the world over, blessed at a meeting at Palermo in 2000 and recognised by humanity as its answer to thugs who would enslave women and others into forced prostitution and lives of unspeakable misery as slave labour.

Sections 57-60 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, by contrast, look to have been scribbled by an inarticulate third former on Home Office work experience on the back of a fag packet in the gents, whilst high on confiscated crack.

The Protocol’s Article 3 says that if you engage in certain actions (recruiting, for example) in order to exploit a person of 17 or under as a prostitute or for other sexual exploitation, you are a human trafficker and should be brought to justice.

Sections 57-60 of the SOA 2003 says you are a human trafficker and can be imprisoned for up to 14 years if you give a friend a lift to a public loo, knowing he intends to have sex in it.

The Protocol says you are a human trafficker if you subject adults to force or other coercion, fraud, deceit, or take advantage of their vulnerability to exploit them for prostitution or other sexual exploitation.

Sections 57-60 say you’re a trafficker if you give an adult prostitute a free lift to her brothel at her own request.

The Protocol defines people who recruit, harbour, transport, transfer or receive adults by means of force, coercion etc. as traffickers.

Sections 57-60 concern themselves only with transport into, around and out of the UK, whether at the ‘trafficked’ persons’ own request or not.

In short, the Protocol is about volition – protecting minors too young to exercise choice in these matters, whilst ensuring adults are not forced or otherwise duped, and are ABLE TO EXERCISE CHOICE.

Sections 57-60 is about a small coterie of people in the Home Office using the force and coercion of law to PREVENT ADULTS EXERCISING CHOICE.

According to Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesman Chris Huhne, the offences formed part of Labour’s ‘legislative diarrhoea’ of 3,600 new criminal offences since they came to power – nearly one a day.

I think that’s an insult.

To diarrhoea.


(for more on this subject, try )

  1. Glen Parry permalink

    Excellent summation of the manner in which this Government redefines terms in such a way as to criminalise the largest number of, often, quite innocent activities.

    Sadly, such Government definitions are often at variance with internationally accepted interpretations.

    Generally, legislation based on such wide ranging definitions serves to provide neither protection or assistance to those in genuine need. More frequently, they acheive little more than to enable those in power to score points with the media, & create a cycle in which the very loose definition leads to wildly inflated estimates of the numbers involved & yet more ill considered, draconian legislation.

  2. At last, a sane comment from somebody on my blog, Glen, thanks enormously. I only started the blog at the start of the year, it’s been tough going + though I’ve had nerly 900 visits, the only comment (apart from the odd ‘pingback’) has been from Gregory Carlin.

    Oh, more on Mr Carlin:

    Before the 2003 Act, the Gopvernment estimate of trafficked for sex persons in the UK was 420 to 1,420. After it, it was 4,000.

  3. Gregory permalink

    The police are struggling to make trafficking charges stick, the police themselves often stand accused of abuses, and of a genre of pimping for reality TV connected to the NIO & Home Office gimmicks.

    The Brit govt. is not credible

    PPS set to clear man of human trafficking – Belfast Today18 Aug 2009 … Mark Alexander Russell, from Circular Road in Dromore, Co Down, … prison sentence on Russell for two offences, human trafficking for … – Cached – Similar –
    Unborn baby trafficking ‘on the rise’ | Pound Pup Legacy

    The credit for the above can be shared equally between Esmond, me and the journalist, it took over six months.

  4. So what they seem to be saying here is that the conviction for controlling prostitution will stand but the trafficking conviction is to be overturned. I can’t quite understand why.

    The Pentameter operations were supposedly going on the Palermo definition of trafficking, though how on earth they could given the different definition in UK law is beyond me. Does this have something to do with it? If the women were adult and no deceit, coercion or force was used, Russell would not be a trafficker under Palermo, though he would under a strait reading of the Sexual Offences Act (and may therefore have pleaded guilty) if he had been involved in moving them about. Could this be it?

    According to my own correspondence with Amnesty International’s Ireland office, Pentameter matters there have been dealt with by the UK Human Trafficking Centre in Sheffield, as other UK cases.

  5. Sepian permalink

    “So what they seem to be saying here is that the conviction for controlling prostitution will stand but the trafficking conviction is to be overturned. I can’t quite understand why”

    For a trial ( at magistrates) as messed up as his, a complete walk would be a prospect if he wanted to take that route, the PPS (CPS) are taking steps, I’ll keep you posted.

    He wasn’t supposed to be charged at all. In May 2008, sex trafficking was off the docket, a lack of evidence etc.

    So we had the police, CPS, sitting in court watching a man being convicted for something he wasn’t supposed to be charged with, how state of the judicial art is that?

    The entire UKHTC issue is a mess here.

    Julie Bindel got upset with me re: an email from me in 2008 asking Patrick Corrigan at Amnesty if his numbers reflected ordinary women going in the back of the van, which was the case.

    “This was part of a UK-wide operation which uncovered 167 victims of sex trafficking and led to the arrest of over 500 suspected traffickers.”

    That was hyperbole.


    Response as follows-

    PPS Spokesperson:

    The defendant was charged by Police on 12 January 2008 with the following offences;

    * Trafficking within the UK for Sexual Exploitation, contrary to section 58(1)(b) of the Sexual Offences Act 2003;
    * Controlling Prostitution for Gain ,contrary to section 53(1) of the Sexual offences Act 2003

    On receipt of the police investigation file the PPS considered the available evidence and found that the Test for Prosecution was met only in relation to the offence of Controlling Prostitution for Gain .

    On 21 May 2008 a decision issued from PPS to prosecute the defendent for the offence of Controlling Prostitution for Gain.

    The Trafficking charge before the court was not withdrawn. This was an administrative error which has now been brought to the attention of the PPS . Steps are now being taken to recitify this error.



    —–Original Message—–

    > From: Gregory
    > Carlin [
    > ]
    > Sent: 07 July 2008 14:41
    > To: ;
    > Cc:
    > ;
    > ;
    > Birnie, Esmond
    > Subject: 500 suspected traffickers?
    > This was part of a UK-wide operation which
    > uncovered 167 victims of sex trafficking and led to the
    > arrest of over
    > 500 suspected traffickers.
    > Patrick
    > Don’t you think they’re potentially including
    > everything going into
    > back of the van?

  6. Sepian permalink

    The PPS (NI) would also appear to be up to their ears in a perverting the course of justice scandal re: the current Dempsey prosecution.

    Pentameter II is going down the toilet in a grotesque style.

    The BBC have also been exposed for orchestrating fake rescue raids with one police agency or another. It is not a good day for state journalism.

    A fake rescue industry ( absolutely) requires the complicity of the media.

  7. Speaking of the Poppy Project, their director Abigail Stepanitz is speaking at a fantastic conert raising awareness on human trafficking.

    The concert is September 29th at Cadogan Hall and is called ‘Abandoning Silence’
    It’s an orchestra concert so the music should be amazing as well.

    Purna Sen -Head of Human Rights at The Commonwealth Secretariet is going to give the key note speach.

    Should be a high impact event. I’m definitely going!

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