People trafficking protection measures slammed

Measures to protect victims of people smuggling are "not fit for purpose" and may be illegal, a report claimed today.

Campaigners accused the British Government of breaching its obligations under European law to protect trafficked people and uphold minimum standards of care.

They said border officials focus on the immigration status of victims and not on crimes such as sexual exploitation and forced labour.

And they warned shortcomings in the national operation mean vital intelligence about criminal gangs is being lost to police.

Kate Allen, of Amnesty International, said an overhaul of the system must change the emphasis to protecting victims not "hounding people" for immigration crimes.

She said: "We pushed hard for the government to sign up to the anti-trafficking convention but the government has botched its attempt to deal with this most despicable of crimes.

"In particular, the identification system is clearly not fit for purpose, with under-trained staff displaying ignorance over what trafficking actually is."

Researchers at the Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Group examined measures launched 14 months ago, including changes to identify trafficking victims more quickly.

In a report titled "Wrong kind of victim?", they said the process is "flawed" and may discriminate between people from different parts of the world.

Campaigners said there is evidence criminals control people by warning they will be seen as illegal immigrants, not victims.

Border staff were singled out for failing victims of sexual exploitation and forced labour, including children.

The report highlighted how only 36 trafficking-related cases were prosecuted in the nine months to January 2010, while 5,000 victims of smuggling are in Britain.

It called for the appointment of an anti-trafficking watchdog and the introduction of an independent appeals system.

Aidan McQuade, of Anti-Slavery International, said viewing trafficking as a form of immigration crime has led to "arbitrary decisions".

He said: "Evidence gathered in this study shows that this is undermining the ability of the police to combat the trafficking gangs who are making fortunes from the misery of others."

Christine Beddoe, of ECPAT UK, said: "Children are not 'mini-adults' and attempting to fit them into a system designed for adults is inappropriate. The experiences and needs of children are quite different to those of adult victims.

"It is essential that children are provided with a legal guardian to ensure that their best interests are always considered."

ECPAT stands for: End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and the Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes.

The Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Group is a coalition of campaign groups including Anti-Slavery International, Amnesty International and ECPAT UK.

News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Life and Style
fashionThe supermodel on her career, motherhood and Cara Delevingne
News
i100
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Sport
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
football
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments