The Anglican Archbishop of York has said that the government is not responding effectively to new pan-European attempts to tackle sex trafficking.
Describing the practice of forcing women and children into prostitution as “modern-day slavery”, Dr John Sentamu said he was "shocked" that the UK coalition government of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats had opted out of a European Union directive aimed at encouraging nations to join forces against the trade.
He called on the Government to rethink its “seriously flawed” position and “make the UK a more hostile environment for traffickers”.
“This is women being exploited, degraded and subjected to horrific risks solely for the gratification and economic greed of others," said the Archbishop, who is number two in the Church of England,
“I am stunned to learn the Government are opting out of an EU directive designed to tackle sex trafficking," he continued. “This seems to be a common-sense directive designed to co-ordinate European efforts to combat the trade in sex slaves. What we need are tough cross-border solutions to international problems."
“We need to join with our European brothers and sisters and put an end to this evil trade," concluded Dr Sentamu.
According to the International Labour Organisation, 43 per cent of the 2.45 million individuals across the world currently being trafficked are forced into the sex trade, most of them women or young girls.
“Britain should get involved now and be part of improving the situation, not sitting on the sidelines offering wise words once the match is over,” the Archbishop declared.