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The Ministry of Justice and the Home Office jointly funds the Poppy project to provide specialist, high-level support to victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation. Victims are provided with a 30 day reflection period, accommodation, advocacy support, access to counselling, interpretative services, access to immigration legal advice, resettlement support and a range of other services to meet their individual needs. The Poppy project also has outreach teams. This year the Government piloted support services for victims trafficked into domestic servitude and forced labour.
We ratified the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings on 17 December 2008 and will come into force in April 2009. This will see the introduction of a 45 day minimum reflection period and one-year temporary residence permits, both of which will be extendable in certain circumstances. We will also introduce a national support service model with an increased number of supported accommodation places.
Following discussions with the MPS we have agreed, exceptionally, to provide funding which will enable the MPS to maintain the trafficking team for 2009-10 and to ensure that this work is mainstreamed into the existing budget. The funding has been offered on the basis that the full cost of the trafficking team is met solely from the MPS budget as from 1 April 2010.
The MPS were informed by ACPO of the grant available for the current financial year in early 2008.
On one previous occasion the MPS wrote to the Home Office about this matter. It was made clear to the MPS at the time, that as core police business the funding of the trafficking team should be met from within their existing budget.
The nature of the crime makes it difficult to provide an accurate assessment of the scale of the problem faced by the United Kingdom.
The latest estimate is that at any one time in 2003 there were up to 4,000 women in the UK who had been trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
We have no estimate of the scale of trafficking for non sexual purposes.