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Roma Children

Volume 497: debated on Wednesday 14 October 2009

5. What information he holds on the number of Roma children from other EU member states who attend school in Scotland. (292282)

The UK Government do not hold information on the number of Roma children in Scottish schools. The pupil census in Scotland is a devolved matter for the Scottish Government.

Wilberforce banished slavery 200 years ago. We have new slavery now both in Scotland and in England. We have thousands of eastern European children on the streets involved in criminal activity organised by trafficking gangs. They do not go to school. What are the Secretary of State and his counterparts doing to rid our streets of this Fagin-like situation? It is quite disgraceful and it needs to be dealt with.

The hon. Gentleman has a proud track record in campaigning on this serious issue. I welcome his concern today. Many of these matters are devolved to Scotland, but I can confirm that the UK Government and the Scottish Government are working closely together to tackle the problem. That is one reason why we ratified the Council of Europe convention on action against trafficking in human beings last year and why we have set up a national centre for trafficking in Sheffield, with which the Scottish authorities—including the police—are fully co-operating. They are providing us with important intelligence so that we can track these criminal networks across the whole of the UK.