Page last updated at 17:13 GMT, Thursday, 14 October 2010 18:13 UK

Bone warns that slavery is 'common' in the UK

Slavery and human trafficking are still "far too common" in the UK, MPs have heard, more than 200 years since William Wilberforce's campaign to abolish the slave trade achieved success.

On 14 October 2010, Peter Bone, Tory chair of the all-party parliamentary group on human trafficking, said there were at least 10,000 slaves in the UK and an estimated 27 million around the world.

In a debate ahead of anti-slavery day on 18 October, Mr Bone called for tighter border controls to help eradicate the practice.

"This is the very best way to end trafficking," he said. "The UK must be a country that it's just not worth it for the traffickers to use."

Mr Bone said that human trafficking ranked alongside narcotics and firearms in the top three most profitable criminal activities, but had neither the same profile or resources to combat it.

The main victims in the UK were women and children, he told MPs, with women often lured to the UK with a promise of a job but then forced into prostitution.

"More than 200 years after the abolition of the slave trade, why are we here debating slavery?" Mr Bone asked.

"Are we celebrating the success of William Wilberforce? Are we here congratulating ourselves that there still remains no slavery within the UK?

"No we are not. Slavery and trafficking are still far too common an occurrence."

And he added: "Just because the problem is not as visible in the time of William Wilberforce, this certainly does not mean it is not as important or as serious."


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