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Sex Industry

Volume 406: debated on Thursday 12 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures are being taken to ensure that women and young girls being illegally trafficked to work in the sex industry are identified at entry points into the UK; and if he will make a statement. [118150]

The Home Office has recently published the 'trafficking toolkit', providing guidance for immigration and police officers on how to recognise a victim of trafficking and what to do if such a victim is encountered. The toolkit is available on-line at www.crimereduction.gov.uk/toolkits. An abridged version in hard copy has also been produced for widespread distribution to frontline workers such as police, Immigration Service and Social Services.Training provided to police and immigration officers is through the practical sharing of skills and experience across agencies. Additionally, two immigration officers on attachment to the National Crime Squad Immigration Crime Team (ICT) have attended a weeklong multi-agency 'training for trainers' trafficking course run by the Child and Women Abuse Studies Unit of the London Metropolitan University. They have cascaded the training to ICT colleagues.There is also work under way involving key agencies at principal entry points to identify children at risk, including pilot projects involving the Immigration Service, Police and Social Services at Heathrow and Dover.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which countries have been identified by his Department as entry and destination points for the illegal trafficking and trade of women and young girls for work in the sex industry. [118152]

The Government's strategy recognises the importance of intelligence and joint operations in source and transit countries. Through the Reflex multi-agency taskforce on organised immigration crime, detailed intelligence assessments have been drawn up. These are operationally sensitive, but have been used to inform the deployment of a network of immigration liaison officers (ILOs) in order to develop intelligence and operational co-operation in source and transit countries. The ILOs are posted at key nexus points in eastern and south-eastern Europe with plans to increase the number of officers deployed.In addition, we have been working with key source and transit countries to develop their capability to tackle trafficking. Project Immpact, a UK-led EU initiative in Bosnia, which has led to the identification of trafficked women, is a good example of this. A second phase of Immpact will be commencing shortly in Serbia and Montenegro. Reflex Romania, a joint capacity-building exercise between UK and Romanian law enforcement, is another example of the work that is under way in the areas vulnerable to the threat of organised immigration crime.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what provisions are (a) available and (b) being developed for victims of child trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. [118153]

Social services have a duty under the Children Act 1989 to safeguard and promote the welfare of children who are in need by providing a range and level of services appropriate to those children's needs or, where appropriate, by arranging for the provision of services from other agencies. Child victims of trafficking are referred to social services to receive assistance and support based on their particular needs. They may arrive in this country as unaccompanied minors seeking asylum,or accompanied by an adult. In the latter case, if anyone who comes into contact with the child is concerned that the child is the victim of abuse or neglect, they should refer the child to the relevant local authority's social services department. Unaccompanied minors seeking asylum will also be referred to social services. This care will be determined by a needs assessment according to the Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families. Child victims of trafficking are likely to be in need of welfare services and—in many cases protection under the Children Act 1989.Where there is a risk to the life of a child or a likelihood of serious harm, an agency with statutory child protection powers, for example, the police or councils with social services responsibilities, will act quickly to secure the immediate initial safety of the child. In some cases, it may be necessary to ensure that the child remains in, or is removed to, a safe place. Under section 20 of the Children Act 1989 a local authority may provide accommodation for any child within their area if they consider that to do so would safeguard or promote the child's welfare. This may involve placing the child in a foster placement or it may place the child in a children's home.There are only very limited circumstances in which it is an option to hold a young person in secure accommodation. The Children Act 1989 permits that children may only be held in secure conditions if they satisfy certain specific grounds such as a likelihood of absconding together with a likelihood that injury would be caused to the young person themselves or others. This requires the approval of the courts.The Home Office trafficking toolkit has been produced to aid front line agencies such as social services, Immigration Services and police in recognising victims of trafficking and treating them appropriately. The toolkit is available on-line at: www.crimereduction.gov.uk/ toolkits. An abridged version in hard copy has also been produced for widespread distribution to these workers.There is also work under way involving key agencies at principal entry points to identify children at risk, including pilot projects involving the Immigration Service, Police and Social Services at Heathrow and Dover.The Department of Health co-ordinate the National Plan for Protecting Children from Commercial Sexual Exploitation.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to work with international law enforcement agencies to tackle the trafficking of women, with particular reference to those from Eastern bloc countries; and if he will make a statement. [118155]

In committing ourselves to tackling people trafficking, we recognise that effective action must be conducted with our international partners.Since 2000, all operational activity targeted against serious and organised criminal involvement in illegal immigration is co-ordinated through Reflex. Reflex has overseen the establishment of a network of immigration liaison officers in key source and transit countries whose role is to build up intelligence on routes and methods and support joint working to tackle criminal gangs. Immigration liaison officers are already posted at key nexus points in eastern and south-eastern Europe and the network will be extended shortly.Reflex has established close operational links with Europol, where a dedicated United Kingdom liaison officer is based, covering organised immigration crime. Europol has developed an action plan on trafficking, which was approved at the recent meeting of the ED Police Chief Task Force held by the Greek Presidency. This will form the basis for co-operation with EU candidate countries for joint operations to tackle trafficking networks.The UK is also supporting work by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe to develop an action plan covering common standards for tackling trafficking in the fields of law enforcement, prevention and legislation.In addition, the UK is also involved in a number of bilateral projects in Romania, Bosnia, Serbia and Montenegro.

Number of vacant consultant posts (WTE1) in Northern Ireland by trust and duration
Health and Social Services (HSS) TrustNumber of vacant

consultant posts as at

31 March 2003
Number vacant

more than

three months
Number vacant

more than

six months
Number vacant

more than

12 months
Altnagelvin Group HSS Trust7.55.05.02.0
Armagh and Dungannon HSS Trust0.00.00.00.0
Belfast City Hospital HSS Trust11.08.04.01.0
Causeway HSS Trust3.01.01.01.0
Craigavon Area Hospital Group HSS Trust2.02.01.01.0
Craigavon and Banbridge Community HSS Trust0.00.00.00.0
Down Lisburn HSS Trust3.03.03.01.0