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The Guardian reports that the coalition government has chosen not to opt in to the EU directive designed to coordinate efforts to combat human trafficking, suggesting that the Tories’ euroscepticism is to blame. But as Klara Skrivankova of charity Anti-Slavery International says, “Without international co-operation, the government will lose the battle with the traffickers. By choosing not to opt in to the directive, the government is failing in its efforts to combat this transnational crime.”

A Home Office spokesman claims that “By not opting in now but reviewing our position when the directive is agreed, we can choose to benefit from being part of a directive that is helpful but avoid being bound by measures that are against our interests.” Quite what terrible fate might befall the UK if we agree to work with other European countries or – horror of horrors – eventually be bound by EU-wide laws designed to protect vulnerable people from traffickers is anyone’s guess.

The International Labour Organisation estimates that there are:

…at least 2.45 million people in forced labour as a result of trafficking in persons. Most people are trafficked into forced labour for commercial sexual exploitation (43%) or various reasons (25%). The remainder (32%) are victims of trafficking for economic exploitation. Women and girls represent 56% of victims of forced economic exploitation, while men and boys represent 44%. As regards forced commercial sexual exploitation, an overwhelming majority (98%) are women and girls.

You can read more on the directive here.