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Child Trafficking

Volume 530: debated on Tuesday 5 July 2011

1. What recent discussions he has had with the Director of Public Prosecutions on prosecution rates for cases involving allegations of trafficking of children. (63517)

None recently, but I can assure the hon. Lady that the DPP, the Law Officers, the Home Office—which I believe she shadows—and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office take the crime of human trafficking extremely seriously.

Can the Solicitor-General explain to me exactly how merging the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre into the national crime agency, against the advice of all the specialists in the field, will improve prosecution rates and the support given to victims of trafficking?

If Parliament permits its creation, the national crime agency will not come into operation until at least 2012-13. Meanwhile, CEOP and the other necessary agencies are working together to ensure that the crime of human trafficking, which the hon. Lady takes as seriously as we do, is properly borne down upon, and I can assure her that nothing will be done to impede the efforts of the prosecuting authorities in that regard.

Does the Solicitor-General agree that one way to improve prosecution rates would be to ensure that all resources are used to prosecute traffickers, rather than sometimes prosecuting the trafficked children?

Of course I do, and it is imperative that trafficked children, who are the victims of this hideous crime, are not prosecuted but are treated as victims. Equally, it is imperative that adults under such duress, too, are not prosecuted but treated as victims. The Crown Prosecution Service recently published a public policy statement, which I am sure my hon. Friend has read, and the Home Office will shortly publish a human trafficking strategy that will deal very much with the points that he has made.