Human trafficking’ police unit reprieved in Government U-turn

THE Home Office has made a U-turn following its shock move to cut the funding for Scotland Yard’s unique human trafficking’ unit. The London Assembly tonight welcomed the restored budget for Britain’s only human trafficking’ specialist squad which had been under threat from Whitehall cuts

Mike Brooke

THE Home Office has made a U-turn following its shock move to cut the funding for Scotland Yard’s unique human trafficking’ unit.

It has now reached agreement with the Met Police to pay for the unit jointly for the next financial year, while long-term funding was being looked at, Justice Secretary Jack Straw told the Commons this afternoon.

It followed on the heels of severe criticism from the London Assembly just 24 hours earlier which condemned the threat from Whitehall to Britain’s only human trafficking’ squad.

The Assembly tonight welcomed the restored budget which guarantees the unit continues up to April 2010 while its future is sorted out.


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Assembly Member Jenny Jones, who led the original motion condemning the closure, said: “This means more effective pursuit of the modern day slave-traders responsible for the misery of thousands of women and girls trafficked into the UK.

“I am delighted ministers have seen sense and have acted to ensure this vital tool in the battle against human trafficking is able to continue.”

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UNICEF estimates 5,000 child prostitutes are in the UK, many having been trafficked’ in.

London was now being seen as a major gateway’ for human trafficking into Britain, says the Assembly.

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