Further specialist training to combat human trafficking and child exploitation is to be given to Watford police officers, as the European Union passes legislation to crack down on the abuse.

The Watford-based Counter Human Trafficking Bureau, in partnership with the town's independent Human Trafficking Foundation, is to give more training to police officers this autumn.

Herfordshire European MP Richard Howitt, who has been working with the organisations, welcomed newly published guidelines in Europe that aim to strengthen national systems of guardianship for children without parental care.

The senior member of the human rights committee in the European Parliament, said: "There is a growing awareness of the need to stop the crime of human trafficking and child exploitation and I’m pleased to see police and agencies here in Hertfordshire working hard to crack down on the abuse.

"I know that the Watford-based Counter Human Trafficking Bureau will conduct further specialist training for police officers in the autumn, in partnership with the Human Trafficking Foundation, also based independently in Watford.

"The continuing push at the European level to combat trafficking is vital and in particular the latest push to strengthen national guardianship systems is a further move in the right direction.

"Child protection is a cornerstone of EU anti-trafficking legislation and guardianship plays a very important role for the prevention of child abuse and exploitation.

"The evil of human trafficking and child exploitation must be ended."