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Human Trafficking: Social Security Benefits

Volume 475: debated on Wednesday 14 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate her Department has made of the extent of the practice of smuggling babies into the UK for the purpose of benefit fraud; and what steps her Department is taking to prevent it. (205455)

The Home Office has not carried out an estimate of the extent of baby smuggling into the UK for the purpose of benefit fraud. However, the scoping report published by the Child Exploitation On Line Protection Centre (CEOP) in 2007 identified six children who had been trafficked specifically for benefit fraud.

The Government are aware of isolated cases where children have been brought into the country by adults for the purpose of claiming benefits. Since October 2007 the Paladin Team, a police-led multi-agency child protection unit based at London ports, has investigated two individuals suspected of trafficking children for benefit fraud. These are being progressed through the Criminal Justice System.

The Government deplore all forms of human trafficking and are determined to fight these through its UK Action Plan on Tackling Human Trafficking. The action plan is currently being updated.