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Sentencing (Human Trafficking and Drugs Offences)

Volume 532: debated on Tuesday 13 September 2011

17. How many prisoners are serving sentences for (a) human trafficking and (b) drug-related offences; and what the average length of sentence is in each case. (71323)

Between 2006 and 2010, 109 people were sentenced for human trafficking offences, with an average determinate custodial sentence length of 50 months, and 254,980 people were sentenced for drug-related offences, with an average determinate custodial sentence length of 32 months. The average determinate custodial sentence length for trafficking for sexual exploitation was 50 months; in the case of trafficking for forced labour, it was 51 months, and in the case of drug trafficking, it was 73.5 months.

I think that the House will agree that there is a bit of difference between the figures for human trafficking and for drug-related offences, yet the two crimes—human trafficking and drug offences—are very difficult for the victims. We should surely rebalance the criminal justice system to ensure that more traffickers are caught. I know that the Government have produced their human trafficking strategy, but there is a terrible imbalance at the moment.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend, and I thank him for his energetic chairmanship of the all-party group on human trafficking, and for continuing to bring the issues to my attention. Trafficking drugs and people are both extremely serious offences, and when people are caught—obviously, we want to make sure that they are, on every conceivable occasion—they should serve an appropriately serious tariff.

I am grateful to the Minister both for his succinctness and his control of his breathing, which was impressive.