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EU Directive (Human Trafficking)

Volume 525: debated on Tuesday 22 March 2011

I am writing today to the Parliamentary Scrutiny Committees in both Houses, seeking their views on the Government’s intention to apply to opt in to the EU directive to combat human trafficking upon its adoption. The Government’s view remains subject to parliamentary scrutiny.

In June, the Government took the decision not to opt in at the outset to the proposal for a directive to combat human trafficking but undertook to review the position when there was a finalised text. We have now carefully considered the finalised text. The main risk associated with the text has now been overcome: by waiting to apply to opt in, we have a text that has been finalised and we have avoided being bound by measures that are against the UK’s interests.

The new text still does not contain any measures that would significantly change the way the UK fights trafficking. However, the UK has always been a world leader in fighting trafficking and has a strong international reputation in this field. Applying to opt in to the directive would continue to send a powerful message to traffickers that the UK is not a soft touch, and that we are supportive of international efforts to tackle this crime.