Coalition confusion over EU human trafficking directive

After giving the concrete answer of ‘no’ when asked whether the government would be signing the European directive on human trafficking just three months ago, is the coalition on the brink of doing an about turn? Last month, Home Office minister Lynne Featherstone told the Commons that the coalition had “decided not to opt in to the European directive at the moment”; yet last week, Solicitor General Edward Garnier seemed certain that the directive had in fact already been signed.

After giving the concrete answer of ‘no’ when asked whether the government would be signing the European directive on human trafficking just three months ago, is the coalition on the brink of doing an about turn? Last month, Home Office minister Lynne Featherstone told the Commons that the coalition had “decided not to opt in to the European directive at the moment”; yet last week, Solicitor General Edward Garnier seemed certain that the directive had in fact already been signed.

During questions to the Attorney General in the Commons, Labour’s Chi Onwurah, asked whether there would be a review into the effectiveness of prosecution in human trafficking cases, with a supplementary question asking for an explanation as to why the government would not be signing the directive.

Garnier simply replied:

“I will be corrected if I am wrong, but I rather think that we have signed that directive.”

As Left Foot Forward reported in September, during David Cameron’s heated exchange with then-acting opposition leader Harriet Harman at Prime Minister’s Questions, the PM promised that the government would “look into” the proposed European law.

Just last week, home secretary Theresa May gave in to the lobbying of her Labour shadow, Ed Balls, regarding the piloting of the Domestic Violence Protection Order scheme. Having scrapped the plans as part of the government’s austerity measures, Ms May claimed on November 25th that:

“These new powers will allow the police to step in when the victims are most vulnerable to give them vital space and time which could ultimately save their lives.”

Has the home secretary come to the same conclusion about human trafficking law? In a paper, which was released on the same day as the last u-turn, the Home Office’s commitment to end violence against women is highlighted. Although only mentioned three times, human trafficking law is to be reviewed and a new strategy released in 2011 (page six).

Will it be an announcement of the integration of European law? Perhaps somebody should brief Mr Garnier, whatever the intended outcome.

10 Responses to “Coalition confusion over EU human trafficking directive”

  1. Claire French

    RT @leftfootfwd: Coalition confusion over EU human trafficking directive: http://bit.ly/e0CZQL reports @ClaireE_French

  2. Susy

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  3. Gareth Davies

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  4. Julian L Hawksworth

    RT @garethcare: Come on UK government- what's going on with the EU directive on trafficking? http://bit.ly/hZwSzr @loosethechains @Hopef …

  5. Carol

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  6. Spir.Sotiropoulou

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  7. Alena

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  8. Tim Easton

    RT @leftfootfwd: Coalition confusion over EU human trafficking directive: http://bit.ly/e0CZQL reports @ClaireE_French

  9. Jonathan Hujsak

    Coalition confusion over EU human trafficking directive – Left Foot Forward http://bit.ly/h7KICS

  10. Government opts out of EU human trafficking directive | Left Foot Forward

    […] months of confusion and mixed messages the UK government today opted out of new European Union rules to crack down on […]

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