Friday, May 13, 2005

Charles Clarke Will Roast In Hell

I can't find this on any of the news sites yet, but Channel 4 News has just run a report that the Home Office is refusing to sign an EU resolution to protect rescued victims of sexual and labor trafficking. The UK is apparently one of only two countries unwilling to sign the measure, which includes requirements to provide a 'reflection period' of 30 days (pretty fucking chintzy, you ask me) for victims to recover, figure out their next move and decide whether to help authorities prosecute, as well as a temporary but renewable residence permit.

The reason apparently given by the HO (who 'weren't available' to comment to Channel 4) for refusing to sign is concern that women (I paraphrase from the TV report) 'may falsify stories of sex trafficking as a way of seeking asylum', or that they 'may actually use sex trafficking as a method of gaining entry'. Those fucking, unspeakable, loathsome misogynists. I honestly have no words for the disgusting foulness of this calumny, this pile of heartless, hateful, victim-blaming, stinking shit.

Occasionally something happens, big or little, that just pulls you up sharp and brings you face to face with just how deep and vicious and embedded misogyny still is, how woven in the cloth of our cultures. This is one of those for me. I feel like being sick.

I'll update with links as I find them. For now all I've got is this year-old opinion from the EC's Experts Group on Trafficking in Human Beings, outlining recommended policy on the reflection period and residency permit.

I'm hoping the news coverage may shame the government into backing down and signing after all, but the mask has irrevocably slipped, and we've seen something monstrous. We cannot tolerate this.

Update May 13th, 9pm: Channel 4 has posted an abbreviated transcript of the story here. Annoyingly, they've cut the part about the Home Office's excuse for not signing. Grr.

Update May 14th, 8pm: Channel 4 have got a link up now on the article page linked above to watch the report (presumably uncut), but you have to be some sort of member to see it so I can't vouch.

Update May 16th, 10:30 am: Now Amnesty and three other charities are calling for the UK to sign, but so far the HO is holding its ground. The preposterous pretext? 'The convention contains measures which we believe may actively encourage people traffickers and may place more vulnerable victims at risk.' Yuh-huh.

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