Dennis MacShane really is a one, isn’t he?
David Cameron and Nick Clegg stand accused of sending the “wrong signal” to pimps and human traffickers across the world after the coalition decided against endorsing an EU directive designed to co-ordinate European efforts to combat the trade in sex slaves.
As new figures show that fewer traffickers are being jailed than at any time in the last five years, Labour called for a government rethink on the directive, appealing to the pro-European Liberal Democrats to explain to their coalition partners the benefits of EU action.
Denis MacShane, Labour’s former Europe minister, launched the appeal after the government decided not to sign up to the directive. The document includes a common definition of the crime of trafficking, to make it easier to convict offenders in the EU’s 27 member states.
Absence of successful prosecution is taken to be proof that not enough is being done.
Only five people were convicted of human trafficking for sexual exploitation in the first six months of this year, according to figures from the UK Human Trafficking Centre, compared with 33 and 34 in the previous two 12-month periods. A further nine were convicted of other offences, having been arrested on suspicion of trafficking.
The alternative, that the low number of successful prosecutions means that not many are committing the crime seems not to be even considered.
For example, we don’t take the low number of High Treason prosecutions as being evidence that we must change the definition of High Treason. Rather, we take it as evidence that not many people are committing High Treason.
And yes, MacShane’s partner is indeed one of the loopier campaigners on this point, almost as bad as Julie Bindel.