More police needed to stop human traffic

INCREASED policing at East Anglia's ports and coastal borders was demanded last night in a bid to stop human trafficking and the smuggling of women into the country to be exploited as sex slaves.

By Graham Dines

INCREASED policing at East Anglia's ports and coastal borders was demanded last night in a bid to stop human trafficking and the smuggling of women into the country to be exploited as sex slaves.

Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer also wants closer co-operation with European authorities, which would lead to a concerted crackdown on the misery being caused by unscrupulous gangs

Mr Gummer, whose constituency includes Felixstowe as well as long stretches of isolated coastline, said the “appalling” problem of human trafficking was in danger of overwhelming the excellent work being done by the port authorities.


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“We have to have much better liaison with police forces in the rest of Europe. They are the first line of defence,” said Mr Gummer.

“We are lucky that we are an island and can control our borders, but this cannot be done without proper resources from the Government and without the co-operation of our EU partners.

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“To properly defend our borders means that there is huge pressure on costs.

“It is not just the police - we need to inject cash into the port health service so that they can properly deal with people who are discovered, in less than ideal conditions, being smuggled into the country.”

He was supported by Terry Allen, the leader of Tendring district council whose ward includes Parkeston Quay and the port of Harwich.

“Any force that's in place to prevent the abuse of this country by people for profit, gain or evil means would be a good thing,” he said.

“I would imagine that being one of the main gateways to this country, Harwich would be the vanguard of any such force.

“I'm sure that it a force was created it would be supported not only by us as a local council but also by the residents of Tendring.”

In the House of Commons yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott said he would be meeting with Home Secretary Dr John Reid to draw up plans for the UK to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on human trafficking.

Shadow foreign secretary William Hague said a border police force to tackle human trafficking would be the best way to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade.

He said it was “time to remember the terrible crimes and unspeakable inhumanity of the slave trade -wouldn't the best monument to the efforts of 200 years ago be cross-party resolve to confront trafficking in its new and wicked form?

“We welcome and called for the Government's announcement that it will ratify the Council of Europe's Convention on Trafficking in Human Beings.”

He urged Mr Prescott to establish with the Home Secretary a UK border police force “without which the war against traffickers cannot be won.”

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