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"The Truth About Trafficking" exposed by Catherine Bearder MEP

October 21, 2010 6:00 AM

Trafficking ImageTo mark EU anti-trafficking day and UK anti-slavery day, Lib Dem MEP for South-East England Catherine Bearder, hosted a special event called "The Truth About Trafficking", along with the University of Oxford's European Affairs Society. Invited speakers included Superintendent Bernie Gravett of the Metropolitan Police and Julia Immonen of Sky Sports.

Supt. Gravett is the police lead on "Operation Golf", the EU funded Joint Investigation Team investigating human trafficking from Romania. Operation Golf, which has proved to be amazingly successful, recently saved 28 Roma children from a Romanian trafficking gang operating in London. The children were aged between 3 and 17 and are all now under police protection. Seven men were arrested as a result of the police operation.

Catherine Bearder with Julia Immonen and Bernie Gravett

Catherine Bearder MEP (centre) with Julia Immonen and Bernie Gravett

Julia Immonen of Sky Sports was first introduced to the injustice of human trafficking several years ago and has subsequently launched a charity called "Sport Against Trafficking". Prior to the World Cup, Julia visited a safe house for trafficked women and children in Cape Town to see the effects that large sporting events such as the World Cup bring upon trafficked victims and came back determined that this should not be repeated in the Olympics and Commonwealth Games in the UK.

Anti-trafficking campaigner Catherine Bearder MEP said: "I'm very glad the Met operation was so successful and managed to save 28 children from the clutches of trafficking gangs. No human life should be bought or sold as a commodity and we must do all we can to fight this 21st century slave trade."

"Trafficking doesn't just occur on the other side of the world; it happens right here in our towns and cities. The more people we can make aware of this the more we can do to tackle the problem. Operation Golf is an example of the success that cooperating on police operations at the European level can be produce. Despite much scare-mongering about it, EU action is making a positive difference to real people's lives."