JCHR Press Notice 05-06 No. 06

No 6 of Session 2005-06                              19 October 2005



The Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) has decided to conduct an inquiry into the human rights of people trafficked into the United Kingdom.

Human trafficking, the transporting of people for exploitation through violence, coercion, deception or the abuse of power, violates the human rights of its victims.  In particular, it violates the right to freedom from slavery, servitude or forced labour, and the right to freedom from inhuman and degrading treatment. It may also involve breaches of a range of other rights, including rights to liberty, privacy and physical integrity. Trafficking engages the positive obligation on the State to protect against breaches of these and other rights by private individuals, by providing and enforcing an effective legal framework to criminalise and combat trafficking.  It also engages the State's positive obligation to ensure the safety of the victims of trafficking and to protect them from further violations of their human rights. 

These obligations arise under the Human Rights Act 1998, as well as under international human rights law, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the Convention against Torture, and the Conventions of the International Labour Organisation. 

The JCHR's inquiry will consider evidence on the evolution of the Government's policy in relation to trafficking, and how far the UK adequately meets its human rights obligations to protect against trafficking, and to protect the victims of trafficking.

It will consider, in light of national and international human rights law standards:

• The nature and extent of the problems arising from trafficking in the UK;

• The extent to which the UK legal framework is adequate to address the problem of human trafficking;

• The enforcement of the law on trafficking;

• The treatment of and protection provided to the victims of trafficking;

• The law and practice on the deportation of the victims of trafficking.

The inquiry will also give consideration to the recently agreed Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings, which the UK has not yet signed.  It will consider whether or to what extent ratification of the Convention by the UK would enhance human rights protection in this area, and assess the changes to law, policy and practice which would be necessary in order to ratify and successfully implement the Convention.

The Committee would welcome written evidence from interested individuals or organisations on any of these matters, to reach the Committee by 13 January 2006.

Submissions should be addressed to Nick Walker, Commons Clerk of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, Committee Office, House of Commons, 7 Millbank, London SW1P 3JA.  Electronic submission is acceptable, but a signed hard copy should also be sent.  In any event, witnesses are asked wherever possible to accompany hard copy by an electronic version, preferably in Word  format, and e-mailed to jchr@parliament.uk.

Evidence becomes the property of the Committee, and may be printed or circulated by the Committee at any stage.  You may publicise or publish your evidence yourself, but in doing so you must indicate that it was prepared for the Committee.  Evidence published other than under the authority of the Committee does not attract parliamentary privilege.