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Human Trafficking (Lap-dancing Clubs)

Volume 508: debated on Monday 22 March 2010

13. What recent representations he has received on allegations of exploitation of victims of trafficking in lap-dancing clubs. (322953)

I have not received any specific representations on the exploitation of victims of trafficking in lap-dancing clubs. Human trafficking is a serious offence and the police will of course investigate allegations of trafficking wherever they occur.

I wonder whether the Minister has any plans to ensure that local authorities, which from 1 April have powers under the Policing and Crime Act 2009, will be able to do anything in the 350 relevant lap-dancing clubs that have been identified, bearing in mind the fact that local authorities have no experience of identifying human trafficking victims. Is she thinking of involving the police, or just relying on local authority officials?

The police go into lap-dancing clubs, as necessary, and as the House would expect them to do, in order to catch traffickers. It is important that they work closely with local authorities, such as my own in Hackney, which is getting a real grip on the issue now that local authorities have much more say about the licensing of such premises. It is crucial that in something as important as trafficking the right expertise is deployed, but I do not believe that there are any problems in that direction.

On the human trafficking of youngsters, will the Minister have a word in her Department about the cases where young teenage women who have been transported from other parts of the globe are rescued or identified by the local authority and brought into care, but when they reach the ages of 19, 20 and 21 cannot get any papers regularised in the United Kingdom and are falling between two stools? Will that be addressed with some urgency and dispatch?

We do, on occasion, grant people leave to stay in those situations. Clearly, every case is individual, and I will happily talk to my hon. Friend if he has any particular cases that he wishes to raise.