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Posted: 18 June 2008 Representatives from Amnesty International

on May 17, 2013

Posted: 18 June 2008

Representatives from Amnesty International and the National Federation of Women’s InstitutesWales will today (18 June) hand over a petition at the Senedd to the First Minister calling for better services for the women trafficked into Wales for the sex trade.

At an event hosted by Joyce Watson AM, Chair of the All Party Group on the Trafficking of Women and Children, the First Minister will accept the petition in the form of a striking portrait of woman made of hundreds of petition postcards.

WI members and Amnesty supporters from across Wales signed the petition calling for the Welsh Assembly Government to provide secure accommodation and support services for some of the hundreds of women made to work as sex slaves in Wales. A report published by Amnesty International last year showed that there may be 150 women at any one time forced to work in the sex trade.

Current UK government policy means tackling the traffickers and providing public services to victims is difficult, but a new Council of Europe Convention on Trafficking to be adopted in the UK means that victims in Wales will be given more support. The campaign in Wales focuses on the obligations of the Welsh Assembly Government to women found in Wales who may have suffered kidnap, rape, violence and exploitation.

The Welsh Assembly Government has already put some steps in place to develop support in Wales, and those attending the event at the Senedd will hear an update on the campaign.

Cathy Owens, Programme Director for Wales of Amnesty International, said:

“Victims of trafficking for the sex trade have been found in all parts of Wales – not just the big cities. Many of the young women involved believe they are coming here to work in the tourist or agricultural industries, and then find themselves at the mercy of evil gangmasters who take their passports, lock them in brothels and force them to have sex with 10 men a day.”

“The Assembly Government has obligations, both moral and legal, to support these women. There is already some good news to report, but this petition will demonstrate how strongly we and our supporters feel about the brutality of human trafficking.”

Marylyn Haines Evans, Chair of National Federation of Women’s Institutes – Wales, said:”Our members around Wales have rallied together to raise awareness about this awful scourge. We are outraged that women could be kept as sex slaves in Wales in our cities, our towns and our villages. This petition shows how strongly our members feel, and I hope that the Assembly Government Ministers redouble their efforts to ensure that these women can be helped to access healthcare and counselling, and we can provide them with some hope in order to help them rebuild their lives after such a traumatic experience.”

Joyce Watson AM, said:

“I established the All Party Group as I was appalled to hear about the brutal lives that these trafficked victims have to endure. Its shocking to think it could be happening in my street, and in our communities. We need to keep raising the issue within the Assembly and ensure that the Assembly Government delivers its obligations to these trafficked victims.”

Cathy Owens, Programme Director for Wales said:

“The people of Wales would be stunned if they knew the level of fear and violence that these women live with, day in and day out. These modern day slaves need our protection.

“We think there may be around 150 women in Wales suffering like this, and the numbers are rising as trafficking becomes the second largest criminal industry after the drug trade.

“Our members have been campaigning to ensure that the UK Government sign the Convention, and we are very pleased that now this has happened, we can expect much better treatment for the victims of trafficking.”


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