MacShane on trafficking

Dennis MacShane really is a one, isn\’t he?

David Cameron and Nick Clegg stand accused of sending the \”wrong signal\” to pimps and human traffickers across the world after the coalition decided against endorsing an EU directive designed to co-ordinate European efforts to combat the trade in sex slaves.

As new figures show that fewer traffickers are being jailed than at any time in the last five years, Labour called for a government rethink on the directive, appealing to the pro-European Liberal Democrats to explain to their coalition partners the benefits of EU action.

Denis MacShane, Labour\’s former Europe minister, launched the appeal after the government decided not to sign up to the directive. The document includes a common definition of the crime of trafficking, to make it easier to convict offenders in the EU\’s 27 member states.

Absence of successful prosecution is taken to be proof that not enough is being done.

Only five people were convicted of human trafficking for sexual exploitation in the first six months of this year, according to figures from the UK Human Trafficking Centre, compared with 33 and 34 in the previous two 12-month periods. A further nine were convicted of other offences, having been arrested on suspicion of trafficking.

The alternative, that the low number of successful prosecutions means that not many are committing the crime seems not to be even considered.

For example, we don\’t take the low number of High Treason prosecutions as being evidence that we must change the definition of High Treason. Rather, we take it as evidence that not many people are committing High Treason.

And yes, MacShane\’s partner is indeed one of the loopier campaigners on this point, almost as bad as Julie Bindel.

9 comments on “MacShane on trafficking

  1. Tim, you are missing the whole justice strategy of 13 years of new labour. It was all about convicting people, never about reducing crime, or providing justice.

  2. Your blog is an interesting one, and a worthwhile one too, in my opinion – even though a lot of what you say is decidedly faulty. But this particular blog seems singularly ill-advised.

    “the coalition decided against endorsing an EU directive designed to co-ordinate European efforts to combat the trade in sex slaves.”

    Now you didn’t actually endorse this un-endorsement, of course – but you supported it indirectly by taking a different angle of attack. Do you really want to be seen supporting efforts to undermine the fight against the trade in sex slaves? I mean if you had definitive proof that this wasn’t a problem, that would be one thing. Methinks, however, that perhaps you have nothing of the sort.

  3. Perhaps the conviction rate for high treason is miserably low. Perhaps we do need to widen the definition, or lower the standard of proof, in order to achieve this.
    One can think of a few possible suspects.

  4. I am lazy, so here is a cut’n’paste from one of my comments somewhere else:

    It is good when confronted with propaganda to go to the facts, if one can. Short of going out and interviewing sex workers, which one’s spouse may not understand, we can read the reports of those who do, in this case the University of Chicago, talking to sex workers in that city:

    http://economics.uchicago.edu/pdf/Prostitution%205.pdf

    Prostitutes who use the services of a pimp are better paid, safer, and turn fewer tricks than those who do not. Pimps provide protection by locating and vetting Johns, physical protection from violence, and also protection from exposure to random violence as the prostitute does not have to tout for work on the street.

    Pimps in other words provide valuable services to their clients, the prostitutes, resulting in increased welfare.

    Tim adds: Err, yes, that’s a paper you will discussed several times here on this blog.

  5. “David Cameron and Nick Clegg stand accused of sending the “wrong signal” to pimps and human traffickers…”

    “Do you really want to be seen supporting efforts to undermine the fight against the trade in sex slaves?”

    This seems to be a common theme. It’s not about making the right decision, it’s about being seen to be doing the right thing.

  6. “Tim adds: Err, yes, that’s a paper you will discussed several times here on this blog”

    Oops!

    I was pretty sure I saw it first on divisionoflabour.com, and had forgotten you ever mentioned it, but now I see you have been assiduously spreading it all over the internet already, so I don’t have to.

    Sorry about that.

  7. I wonder how many of the people convicted of sex trafficking offences were more like this woman:

    http://oldestprof.com/index.php/crimewatch/889-brothel-madam-jailed-after-raid

    than the brutal criminal gangs portrayed in the media.

    “Jailing her for ten months Judge Peter Fenn accepted that she had not coerced or corrupted the girls working for her and they had not been under-age.”

    A standard definition of trafficking seems like a good idea if people can currently be convicted for paying the travel expenses of willing prostitutes moving within the UK.

  8. At the risk of being told off for repeating myself – what does Mr McShane say about that police operation to smash sex trafficking rings that were proliferating up and down the land – Operation Pentameter

    Inquiry fails to find single trafficker who forced anybody into prostitution[http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/oct/20/government-trafficking-enquiry-fails]

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