The UK's record on tackling human trafficking is "not very inspiring" and must be rectified with new legislation, Conservative peer Lord McColl of Dulwich has said.
Opening debate on his Human Trafficking (Further Provisions and Support for Victims) Bill at second reading on 25 November 2011, Lord McColl listed a series of examples of the harm done to victims of trafficking.
He was aware of the case of a British woman who had been lured to Italy by her boyfriend and then forced into prostitution so that he could pay down debts owed to drug dealers, Lord McColl told peers.
Another woman was so haunted by abuse at the hands of traffickers that she was too scared to sleep in her bed and slept on the coach instead, he said.
Yet another suffers from "night terrors" and flashbacks, and another still had to undergo four abortions as a result of her experiences in a brothel, he added.
"Meeting the victims of trafficking is a deeply sobering experience," he summarised.
The Conservative peer praised the coalition's "good intentions" on dealing with human trafficking, citing as evidence its recent decision to sign up to the EU Directive on Human Trafficking.
But he emphasised the need for "appropriate legislative changes to give effect to our good intentions".
His bill would rise to this challenge, he argued, by providing compensation, accommodation, and medical - including psychological - assistance to victims.
The legislation would also seek to improve the "entirely inadequate" safety measures in place for trafficked children, among whom Lord McColl warned there was a "very high disappearance rate", leading to fears that many were being re-trafficked.
Responding to the debate, Home Office minister Lord Henley praised Lord McColl's commitment to the subject, but he said the government would bring forward its own legislation to deal with many of his concerns.
Lord Henley said ministers believed that some of the measures in Lord McColl's bill were "unnecessary" because they went beyond the scope of the EU directive.