Human trafficking? So what IS human trafficking, Home Secretary?
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.
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, when 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].
That 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.
SO HOPEFULLY, NEXT TIME YOU’LL KNOW, MR CAMPBELL.
(for more on this subject, try https://stephenpaterson.wordpress.com/2009/01/02/what-have-uk-punters-got-that-you-havent-jacqui-smith/ )