THE extent of human trafficking in Bedford Borough is not known, but is an issue for the town a councillor has claimed.
At a meeting of Bedford Borough Council last week Councillor Kristy Adams asked for support for an investigation into trafficking of people in the town and the county.
She said: “Mr Mayor, will you support the request to Bedfordshire Police to provide information on the current numbers and strategy to expose the extent of trafficked children and adults in Bedfordshire. With the aim to clarify our safeguarding responsibility to these vulnerable groups?”
Following Mrs Adams’ speech Dave Hodgson, the Mayor of Bedford pledged his support for the investigation, the results will be revealed in September.
Trafficking is when people are deceived by someone or taken against their will, bought, sold and transported into slavery. Trafficked people have been used for sexual exploitation, forced begging and marriage or the removal of human organs.
And trafficking does not just happen to people who are brought to this country from outside the UK. Two to four million men, women and children are trafficked within their own countries every year.
Human trafficking is the fastest growing international crime and Mrs Adams believes that with Bedford’s easy links to London and the north it is a problem for the town.
Mrs Adams said: “Due to the hidden and illegal nature of human trafficking, gathering statistics on the scale of the problem is difficult.
“In this investigation I want three pieces of information. For the police to report back and get figures, and to get information from the adult and childrens’ safeguarding boards.”
She added: “What can happen is pimps can groom children in childrens’ homes knowing that they are a vulnerable group. It’s the taking away of an individual’s freedom to be used for another person’s gain.
“This is happening all over the country but we don’t know what the scale of the problem is.”
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Friday 24 May 2013
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