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Epsom & Ewell Liberal Democrats

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South East MEP Sharon Bowles at the International Conference on Human Trafficking

September 27, 2010 6:00 AM

South-East England Lib Dem MEP Sharon Bowles participated in the Soroptimist International Conference on Human Trafficking, held recently in Leatherhead. The event was designed to raise awareness of trafficking and promote social justice.

Despite the UK being a signatory of The Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings - a pan-European treaty designed to combat human trafficking - a significant number of people, particularly women, are trafficked to the UK every year.

According to a report commissioned by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), there are 12,000 foreign sex workers currently working in brothels across Britain. The report shows that approximately 2,600 women were confirmed as being trafficked into England and Wales and forced to work as prostitutes.

Sharon said: "The consequences of human trafficking are harrowing: children working in drug factories, people used as domestic slaves, and women who are forced to work as prostitutes. According to the ACPO report there are an estimated 426 brothels in the South East of England. This figure does not include brothels advertised in other languages or those that only accept clients by invitation, so the number could be a lot higher."

"There seems to be a tacit acceptance in this country, and others, that allows brothels, many of which house trafficked women, to continue to operate. This is wrong and should be put a stop to. That is why I support the ongoing work of the Soroptimist International, and other such groups, in their fight against trafficking."