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Human Trafficking

Volume 519: debated on Tuesday 30 November 2010

All areas of prosecution policy are kept constantly under review. That said, the Crown Prosecution Service has comprehensive guidance for prosecutors to ensure that decisions in human trafficking cases are taken in line with the principles in the code for Crown prosecutors, taking account of the particular factors that are relevant in human trafficking cases.

In the short time that I have been a Member of Parliament, I have already been approached by a number of women—girls, really—in my constituency who have been trafficked. Not one of them had seen a successful prosecution for their abusers in this country. Will the Attorney-General explain why his Government do not sign the EU directive so that we can do all that we can to ensure that those responsible for this trade are brought to justice?

I will be corrected if I am wrong, but I rather think that we have signed that directive. The Government take issues relating to human trafficking extremely seriously. Indeed, I appeared in the Court of Appeal only the other day on an application to refer a sentence on the grounds of undue leniency and I await the reserved judgment.

Earlier this year, the Trafficking Awareness Raising Alliance in Glasgow highlighted evidence that showed an increase in human trafficking during large sporting events. Is the Solicitor-General concerned that the Olympic games in London and the Commonwealth games in Glasgow will increase the threat of human trafficking in the UK? If so, does he agree that signing up to the proposed EU directive is important in the run-up to those events?

I refer the hon. Lady to the answer that I gave to the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne Central (Chi Onwurah). As a matter of general principle, any large event, sporting or otherwise, in this country—the hon. Member for West Dunbartonshire (Gemma Doyle) will appreciate that Scotland is a separate jurisdiction in such matters—that may lead to human trafficking or an increase in human trafficking commands our attention. We will bear down on it as best we can. It is often difficult for the victims of trafficking to have the courage or ability to give evidence, but it is essential that we encourage them to do so and provide them with the utmost protection when they attempt to do so.