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Press releases archive


Don't derail modern slavery fight, anti-trafficking campaigners urge Prime Minister

18 November 2014

ECPAT campaign for European justice against traffickingUPDATE: Last week, MPs voted overwhelmingly for the UK to keep vital powers that help fight transnational child exploitation and trafficking.

Thanks to the help of more than 2,000 ECPAT UK supporters, the Prime Minister and Members of Parliament heard just how powerful European provisions such as Joint Investigations Teams are in helping us clamp down on cross-border crimes of modern slavery.

On Monday, 10 November 2014, the UK Parliament will hold a crucial vote that could significantly reduce the UK’s ability to tackle the crimes of modern slavery, child trafficking and child sexual abuse. A number of backbench Eurosceptic MPs may vote for the UK to not re-join a package of 35 joint-European justice measures, some of which have proven vital in the fight against human trafficking and child sexual exploitation in the UK and across the EU. 

ECPAT UK, Anti-Slavery International, Walk Free and the Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Group (ATMG) have called on David Cameron to opt in to these vital measures. ACT NOW to sign the petition before the crucial debate and vote on Monday morning.

The trafficking of adults and children is a global crime. Traffickers and transnational sex offenders, including British nationals, do not let borders deter them from profiting from the exploitation of people, particularly children. 

Many of the powers up for vote on Monday, including the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) and provision for Joint Investigation Teams (JIT), have helped the UK unite with leaders across borders to identify hundreds of victims of modern slavery and apprehend traffickers. 

One such effort, Operation Golf, involved a Joint Investigation Team that helped dismantle one of Europe’s largest trafficking rings, which had trafficked more than 1,000 children, including hundreds to the UK. Former Police Superintendent on Operation Golf, Bernie Gravett, said: “To withdraw from the JIT agreement with the EU would be disastrous for UK policing and for the public … It is an effective, cost-efficient tool.”

The UK has announced it will create ‘world-leading legislation’ with the introduction of a Modern Slavery Bill. Yet the country’s crime-fighting ability to target traffickers will be severely hampered if isolationist MPs vote to rid the UK of these important law enforcement powers.  

CLICK HERE to tell David Cameron to stand firm on vital powers to combat cross-border trafficking and child exploitation.


For press enquiries, contact Chloe Setter, 07474 679003,


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ECPAT UK is the leading expert voice on child trafficking in the UK and we offer a comprehensive training programme focused on safeguarding young people from trafficking, modern slavery, and transnational abuse. To find out more visit our training page

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