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Volume 412: debated on Friday 11 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what efforts the Goverment are making to combat the trafficking in women from Moldova to the EU; and if he will make a statement. [108125]

[holding answer 10 Apri12003.1: I refer the hon. Member to the answer my right hon. Friend the Minister of State at the Home Office (Beverley Hughes) gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Thurrock (Andrew MacKinley) on 5 March 2003, Official Report, column 1086W.Trafficking of women is one of the key areas which Reflex, the multi-agency response to organised immigration crime, seeks to address. Reflex targets organised criminal groups, who have in the past been involved with the trafficking of Moldovan women. However, trafficking is a key problem for Moldova that cannot be solved by one Government working alone. The London conference on Organised Crime in South Eastern Europe, which my right hon. Friends the Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary co-hosted on 25 November 2002, and which Moldova attended, identified illegal immigration and human trafficking as key priorities for the international community to tackle. The UK is actively working with international partners, particularly the EU, but also the OSCE and loM for example, to ensure commitments made at the conference are fully implemented. The UK's own programmes, such as Reflex, will continue to form an integral element of these international efforts.