Christians in the Liberal Democrats have added their voice to the growing condemnation of the Government's decision to close Britain's largest dedicated human trafficking police unit next year.
Premier, the Christian Media Group, last week launched a public plea, calling on the Home Office to reconsider budget cuts at the Met Police's Human Trafficking Department as part of their Not For Sale campaign against sexual slavery.
The decision to close the unit follows the decision by the Government to cut its funding for human trafficking investigations from £4million to £1.7million.
Lib Dem Home Affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said: “This is going to leave a gaping hole in investigating crimes that cause untold hardship to many thousands of people. Just as the unit was beginning to have real successes, the Home Office has pulled the rug out from under it. This is a terribly sad and foolish decision.”
Responding to the news Liberal Democrat Christian Forum Chair, Kate Heywood, also expressed her deep disappointment.
“The Christian Forum have campaigned alongside other organisations since 2006 to stop human trafficking and have been delighted by the progress that has been made up until now. By making this decision the Government has abandoned hundreds of thousands of vulnerable women and children to who we as fellow human beings have a duty of care” she said.
According to figures available from the pressure group Stop the Traffik, 80% of trafficked people are women. Many of these are young girls and most are destined for the sex industry. Another study by CEOP in one part of the UK found 330 cases of child trafficking; 56% of these children were girls, 42% boys and 2% unknown. Of these children 55% are missing from social services.
These figures are the tip of the iceburg say the Liberal Democrat Christian Forum.
"As Christians and Liberal Democrats we believe that every individual has the right to freedom and dignity, and that each should be afforded the most basic human rights. Trafficking denies individuals these rights. We will continue to support those organisations campaigning for an end to trafficking and call for the government to reconsider their decision" Kate Heywood said.