New job to tackle human trafficking in Wales

Anonymous young women working as prostitutes - library photo
Image caption Police at least 2,600 women working as prostitutes in England and Wales were trafficked from abroad

An anti-human trafficking coordinator is to be appointed in Wales.

The new post will involve raising awareness, uncovering the extent of the problem and bringing more traffickers to justice.

The coordinator will also organise practical training for professionals on how to identify and intervene in cases.

At least 2,600 women are working as prostitutes in England and Wales having been trafficked from abroad, research for the police suggests.

Social Justice Minister Carl Sargeant will announce the creation of the post later.

'The Right to be Safe' strategy, launched in March this year outlined the Welsh Assembly Government's commitment to supporting victims of human trafficking.

It said human trafficking was now the third most lucrative market in the UK for organised criminals, after drugs and firearms.

The assembly government said the extent of trafficking of women and children in Wales is unclear.

A report prepared by a cross party working group earlier this year found evidence from Wales' 22 local authorities put the number of "proven" or "suspected" cases of human trafficking at 15 but in reality was thought to be many more.

It found next month's Ryder Cup golf tournament was "highly likely" to increase the number of women and children trafficked to Wales for the sex trade.

It said evidence from other countries suggested trafficking increased significantly for major sporting events.

Domestic servitude

The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) said at least 2,600 women are working as prostitutes in England and Wales having been trafficked from abroad.

And a report prepared last year for the children's commissioner for Wales, Keith Towler, found children as young as three were trafficked to Wales from China, Bangladesh and Nigeria for sex, drugs and domestic servitude.

Mr Sargeant said: "Trafficking of women and children into the sex trade and forced labour is abhorrent, but largely remains a hidden crime.

"Authorities often do not recognise the scale of the problem and victims do not know where they can get help.

"I have clearly spelt out my commitment to tackling all forms of violence against women.

"This is why I am funding this post which will raise awareness of the problem of human trafficking, bring more perpetrators to justice and improve the response that victims receive."

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