[holding answer 10 September 2007]: The Paladin team was formed in October 2005 and became fully operational in February 2006. Since its inception they have arrested 25 people for trafficking-related incidents. They have had six convictions; all of these convictions are for facilitation. They have cautioned 11 persons— all for “facilitation” or “harbouring”—through their work at the Asylum Screening Unit.
Operation Maxim has been operational since March 2003 and has achieved the following arrests since its inception:
March 2003 to April 2004: 178 arrests
April 2004 to April 2005: 194 arrests
April 2005 to April 2006: 125 arrests
April 2006 to April 2007: 123 arrests
April 2007 to August 2007: 50 arrests.
Maxim prosecution data only cover the last two years and these are:
April 2005 to 2006: 46 persons prosecuted and convicted. Sentenced collectively 121 years and 5 months.
April 2006 to 2007: 37 persons prosecuted and convicted. Sentenced collectively to76 years and 9.5 months.
April 2007 to August 2007: 30 persons prosecuted and convicted. Sentenced collectively to 51 years and 2 months.
Currently the Maxim Organised Immigration Team has a 100 per cent. conviction rate.
The Human Trafficking Unit was launched on 7 March and is part of the Maxim team. Since its inception the unit has made 12 arrests for human trafficking. There are four cases currently on-going within the judicial system. There have been no convictions yet as all these cases are awaiting trial.
[holding answer 12 September 2007]: As at 31 July 2007 the SOCA budgeted headcount was 4,164 staff.
The Home Secretary's priorities for SOCA in its first year included that SOCA should devote a higher proportion of its resources and activity to intelligence work than the agencies that it replaced and that Class A drugs and organised immigration crime, in that order, should be its top priorities. Organised immigration crime covers both the organised facilitation of immigrants to the UK (people smuggling) and trafficking of people for criminal exploitation, for example prostitutes or forced labour (human trafficking).
As published in its 2006-07 Annual Report SOCA deployed 11 per cent. of its operational resource against organised immigration crime.
The UK Serious Organised Crime Control Strategy, developed by SOCA on behalf of UK Law Enforcement, has four programmes of activity directly focussing on organised immigration crime. This includes a programme on “Trafficking of people”, in particular women and children for the UK vice trade.