Statement: Government intention to adopt EU human trafficking directive

22 March 2011

Commission supports UK Government's intention to adopt EU directive on the prevention of human trafficking

The Government has announced its intention to apply to opt in to the EU Directive to combat trafficking - read the statement.

A spokesperson for the Equality and Human Rights Commission said:

"Human trafficking is a serious organised crime and grossly violates the human rights of the people who are trafficked. We stressed to Theresa May, the Home Secretary and Damian Greene, Minister for Immigration, that signing up to the Directive was right in principle and in practice, and hope that the Government's intention to opt in is fulfilled. Implementing this Directive will help to banish human trafficking from our shores."

> Find out more about this Directive and read our briefing


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Notes to editors

More about the Directive can be found in the European Policy section of our website.

The Commission is a statutory body established under the Equality Act 2006, which took over the responsibilities of Commission for Racial Equality, Disability Rights Commission and Equal Opportunities Commission.  It is the independent advocate for equality and human rights in Britain.  It aims to reduce inequality, eliminate discrimination, strengthen good relations between people, and promote and protect human rights.  The Commission enforces equality legislation on age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, and encourages compliance with the Human Rights Act.  It also gives advice and guidance to businesses, the voluntary and public sectors, and to individuals. 

A statement from the Home Office issued on 22 March

The Minister of State for Immigration (Damian Green) said:

"I am writing today to the Parliamentary Scrutiny Committees in both Houses, seeking their views on the Government's intention to apply to opt in to the EU Directive to combat Human Trafficking upon its adoption. The Government's view remains subject to Parliamentary scrutiny.

"In June, the Government took the decision not to opt in at the outset to the proposal for a Directive to combat Human Trafficking but undertook to review the position when there was a finalised text. We have now carefully considered the finalised text. The main risk associated with the text has now been overcome: by waiting to apply to opt in, we have a text that has been finalised and we have avoided being bound by measures that are against the UK's interests.

"The new text still does not contain any measures that would significantly change the way the UK fights trafficking. However, the UK has always been a world leader in fighting trafficking and has a strong international reputation in this field. Applying to opt in to the Directive would continue to send a powerful message to traffickers that the UK is not a soft touch, and that we are supportive of international efforts to tackle this crime."

Read more about the Government's statement on the Home Office website