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Human Trafficking

Volume 524: debated on Monday 7 March 2011

In September, in defending the Government’s failure to opt into the European Union directive, the Prime Minister said:

“We have put everything that is in the directive in place.”—[Official Report, 15 September 2010; Vol. 515, c. 873.]

At the same time, he implied that the directive is not in our national interest. Is it not the case that it is both squarely in our national interest and goes beyond the measures that we already have in place? Will she therefore take the opportunity of the 100th anniversary of international women’s day to commit to this House that the Government will sign up to the European directive when they get the opportunity?

I thank the hon. Lady, but not for the first time I repeat that we are looking at the directive’s text and considering its merits. If we conclude that opting into the directive will benefit the UK, we will consider doing so.

The question refers to the date on which the new policy on human trafficking will be announced. I congratulate the Government on recognising the need to change the policy, but may I urge a big society solution? While the policy is being considered and drafted, perhaps the key non-governmental organisations could be involved in co-operating—not just consulted—so that the overall policy is a big-society solution.

I thank my hon. Friend. Indeed, the Minister for Immigration met those organisations recently and I have no doubt that we will take that forward. Our common-sense and extensive strategy will try to prevent trafficking in the country of origin, do more on the border to stop it coming in and, if it is in this country, do more with policing.