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UK Conservatives urge agreement to curb human trafficking

Britain's opposition Conservative Party urged the government to tackle human trafficking, saying the nation should sign up to a European Union agreement to control the crime.

„Human trafficking is a hideous trade in human misery which is spiraling out of control,” David Davis, the party's lawmaker in charge of home affairs, said in London today. „We must stop ignoring it and start to tackle the criminal gangs who perpetrate it, and to protect the victims of it.” The comments mark the latest attempt by Conservative leader David Cameron to remold the image his party as friendly to families and the environment. The party lost the 2005 election to Prime Minister Tony Blair's Labour government after it focused on measures to limit immigration.

Up to 2 million women and children are trafficked across international borders every year, and 4,000 victims of trafficking are in the UK after being brought to work as prostitutes, the Conservative said, citing data from 2003. Davis wants the government to toughen border controls, prosecute more traffickers and add measures to help victims. So far, only Austria, Moldova and Romania have ratified the European Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings, which would protect and repatriate victims of the crime. Ten countries must ratify the agreement before it can come into force. Blair's government said it supports the convention but isn't ready to sign up to it yet. A spokeswoman for the Home Office said the government is preparing to announce its own measures to combat trafficking. (Bloomberg)