I've blogged several times about the ongoing situation, unchanged since I wrote that book in the fervent hope that the horrors it depicted would soon be consigned to the dustbin of history.
If you happen to have visited Trafalgar Square recently, you'll have seen graphic evidence that the traffic in women is still thriving.
This is an extract from the website set up to publicise the journey of these women.
The UK has become the prime destination for trafficked women and girls. The growing sex industry supplies a huge demand resulting in enforced slavery and gross exploitation of thousands of women. Victims come from countries burdened with poverty, poor education and high unemployment, countries such as Lithuania, Albania, Nigeria and Thailand. Over 210,000 people have been trafficked from Balkan States and 260,000 from North Africa. Girls of 16 or 17 or even younger are tricked into accepting bogus jobs abroad.
Sex trafficking is big business that makes money from terror. A girl can cost as little as £1000 and be sold in the UK for £3,000 to £5,000. Once broken and set to work that girl will service up to 30 men a day earning their captor up to £250,000 a year. These girls are made to pay for every aspect of their keep, accommodation, clothes, food, tissues and condoms, but at an inflated rate that means they will always be in ‘debt’. This is going on all over London right now and is a rapidly growing industry.
This is from the Council of Europe Convention on Trafficking site:
This new Convention, the first European treaty in this field, is a comprehensive treaty focusing mainly on the protection of victims of trafficking and the safeguard of their rights. It also aims to prevent trafficking and to prosecute traffickers. In addition, the Convention provides for the setting up of an effective and independent monitoring mechanism capable of controlling the implementation of the obligations contained in the Convention.The UK finally signed up to the Convention earlier this year.
(See here for my post when they signed and here for my reservations as to how meaningful this would be in real terms.)
Because the Convention can only come into force if it has at least 10 ratifications.
So far there have been 9.
The UK is not one of them.
But our government does have an Action Plan.
And this is what it says about ratification:
It will inevitably take some time to move from signature to ratification. We are not able to give a date for ratification because much will depend on the extent to which we will require legislative amendments and new processes and guidance. We will not ratify the Convention until we are satisfied that all the required legislative and process changes are in place.
Meanwhile read these case studies and see if you feel OK about the length of time it takes for the bureaucratic wheels to turn.
Then scroll through to read the struggles these women continue to have with the Home Office.
Then support the work of organisations like the Helen Bamber Foundation.
And harass your MP ...