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Volume 450: debated on Thursday 26 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the involvement of gangmasters in (a) people smuggling, (b) illegal copying and selling of DVDs and (c) other types of organised crime; and if he will make a statement. (96415)

The Serious Organised Crime Agency has considered the threat posed by gangmasters to the UK in the context of organised immigration crime. The assessment is contained in the published “UK Threat Assessment of Serious Organised Crime 2006-07”. The assessment states that for many illegal workers in the UK a job is part of their facilitation package and criminal gangmasters are involved in finding work for illegal immigrants. The Gangmasters Licensing Authority began licensing the agricultural, horticultural, shellfish gathering, and associated processing industries in March 2006.

There is no evidence to suggest that gangmasters are involved in illegal copying and selling of DVDs or any other types of organised crime. In order to ensure a joint industry and Government response to counterfeiting and piracy, the Government launched the National IP Crime Strategy in 2004. The Annual Enforcement Report, published by the Patent Office, sets out the range of action being taken by Government and industry bodies to tackle this problem.