By Hilary White

  LONDON, January 11, 2007 ( – Britain’s slave trade is alive and well, with open bidding for women at an auction site outside a coffee shop at London’s Gatwick airport, according to an article in the Spectator’s December 30 edition.

  The difference between the slave trade 200 years ago and the modern version, writes Fraser Nelson, is that the victims are now mainly Slavic and Asian women instead of African men and the “work” is in bordellos, not plantations.

  Nelson wrote that while Prime Minister Tony Blair was lauding the work of the abolitionists of the past, the government was just becoming aware of the growth of the new slave trade under their noses.

  Traffickers fly women to London with promises of jobs, only to inform them that there is no legitimate employment and hand them a bill for as much as £15,000.

  Women are forced into prostitution as a means of paying the “debt” and traffickers often threaten the women’s lives or the lives of their families back home as security. As the Crown Prosecution Service reported this summer, trading was brisk and openly conducted at the airport outside Starbuck’s coffee where brothel owners would bid for women as they came through immigration.

  Nelson writes that “slowly” the British government is becoming aware of the problem. The Home Office is preparing a report that estimates the number of victims of human trafficking in 2003 at 4000, a considerable rise from the 2001 estimate of 142. “Ministers can only guess what today’s figure might be,” he writes.

  An ideological conflict, however, is growing that may hamper efforts to stop the trade and help women. At the same time that governments are awakening to the presence of millions of women being trafficked around the world as a commodity, many are moving to abolish legal restrictions on prostitution.

  Now legitimized as the “sex trade” in media outlets like the BBC and CBC, prostitution is identified as the mainstay of the problem by those working to halt the $31 billion a year global human trafficking industry.

  Nevertheless, the push to legalize prostitution has become the latest fashionable cause on the highly influential extreme left wing of the feminist movement, often under the guise of AIDS prevention programs.

  In 2005, British Nurses voted “overwhelmingly” in favour of decriminalizing prostitution, claiming that by doing so, it would eliminate the stigma associated with the “sex trade.”

  A US website advocating legalized prostitution names Canada, England, France, Wales, Denmark, Germany most of South America, Australia, and New Zealand and Israel as countries that have either legalized or only mildly restricted prostitution, and note that Tel Aviv is considered the “brothel capital of the world.”

  Read related coverage:
  UK Nurses Urge Legalization of Prostitution

  UK Moves Closer to Legalized Brothels

  Critics Condemn UK Proposal to Legalize Northern Ireland Brothels


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