Your cover story (Review, last week) repeats misinformation aimed at promoting new anti-trafficking laws. An unbiased look would spot that such laws would remove the requirement for the victim to give evidence against her abuser, thus enabling her immediate deportation.
The use of anti-trafficking as a means for deportation was exposed in last year’s Soho raids. More than 40 women were arrested and some deported without regard for legal and human rights. Many had fled the war in Kosovo, some were rape victims, some had children.
As a public outcry questioned the raids and their legality, the police story changed: from ‘liberating victims of trafficking’ and ‘looking for children’ to ‘acting on behalf of residents’. Yet no victims of trafficking or children were found, and the residents’ Soho Society opposed the raids.
To justify such deportations, statistics claim 80 per cent of prostitutes in London have been trafficked and all immigrant sex workers are victims.
You call for resources for women. This won’t happen while the media peddles Government measures which increase deportations, not protection.
Cari Mitchell, English Collective of Prostitutes
Colin Hutchinson, Two Garden Court Chambers
Nina Lopez Jones, Legal Action for Women
Alastair Lyon, Solicitor
Michael Schwarz, Bindman & Co
Crossroads Women’s Centre, London NW5
Ian McDonald, QC
Sonali Naik, Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants
Stephani Harrison, Two Garden Court Chambers
Sunday 10 February 2002 00.27 GMT