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Human Trafficking: Children

Volume 507: debated on Monday 8 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment his Department has made of the merits of appointing an independent National Rapporteur on Trafficking with a special focus on children. (320237)

The Government have considered the benefits of appointing an independent national rapporteur for child trafficking but believes the current system of having an Inter-Departmental Ministerial Group on Human Trafficking supported and challenged by the Trafficking NGO Stakeholder Group provide appropriate forums for scrutiny and challenge of both policy and practice of tackling human trafficking and supporting trafficking victims. Child Trafficking features heavily in both these forums and the UK Government’s action plan includes 15 child specific actions to improve safeguarding of trafficked children.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment his Department has made of the merits of introducing a system of guardianship for child victims of trafficking. (320238)

Protection and support for child trafficking victims is paramount and the Government have considered this issue carefully. However the Government do not believe that guardians for trafficked children would enhance the protection and support available to trafficked children over and above the existing safeguarding and support arrangements that are in place at a local level. The Government believe that this responsibility should remain with the local authorities who have a statutory duty to ensure that they safeguard and promote the welfare of all children under Section 11 of the Children Act 2004, regardless of their immigration status or nationality. This conclusion was recognised and accepted by the Home Affairs Select Committee in its report in May 2009.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his latest estimate is of the number of child victims of trafficking in the UK. (320239)

The Government's latest estimate of the numbers of children believed to have been trafficked into the UK is 325. This estimate is taken from the strategic threat analysis carried out by the Child Exploitation Online Protection Centre (CEOP) and published in its report in April 2009. The estimate is derived from data covering the period 1 March 2007 to 29 February 2008.