Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Olympic Concerns Across the Pond

Human traffickers could target Olympics, Home Secretary warns

Traffickers will use next year’s Olympic Games as a cover to smuggle in people, the Home Secretary has signalled.

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, warns human traffickers may target the Olympics.
Theresa May, the Home Secretary, warns human traffickers may target the Olympics. Photo: PA

The 2012 Games are likely to be a key target for criminal gangs who will look to take advantage of a larger than usual number of visitors heading to the UK.

Theresa May yesterday said working with other countries to combat human trafficking will be particularly important in the run up to the Games to help “respond quickly and appropriately to any potential increased risk of trafficking”.

The warning came as the Home Office yesterday launched a new human trafficking strategy.

It will examine tougher penalties for those guilty of smuggling and wider powers for confiscating their assets.

Police estimated that 2,600 people were trafficked for sexual exploitation alone in 2009 and fear around 300 children are smuggled in to the UK every year.

Damian Green, the immigration minister, said: “ they are already here, the Government said today.

Immigration Minister Damian Green said: “We are sending a message that the UK is not a soft touch for traffickers.

“We will pursue and disrupt trafficking networks overseas wherever possible to stop them before they ply their trade in the UK and then bring them to justice.

“These measures along with improved victim care arrangements will ensure that all victims – adults and children – receive care tailored to their specific needs.”

Peter Davies, chief executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, said: “Child trafficking is a terrible crime and can have devastating consequences for those affected.

“This commitment to enhance the coordinated efforts of law enforcement, government and the wider child protection community is a major step forward, as we all strive to improve the level of support to vulnerable and frightened child victims.”

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