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Human Trafficking

Volume 534: debated on Tuesday 25 October 2011

7. What recent guidance he has issued to overseas posts on implementing the new Government strategy on human trafficking. (76299)

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary wrote to all overseas posts on 19 July welcoming the strategy and outlining its aims. We soon expect to finalise with the Home Office the strategy for priority countries. When that process is complete, the Foreign Secretary will write to ambassadors and high commissioners in those countries, instructing them to incorporate trafficking objectives into their work.

I thank the excellent Minister for that response. Prevention is better than cure. If a young woman is trafficked into this country, she will be rescued, but it is better that she is not trafficked in the first place so that she does not have to suffer modern-day slavery and all that goes with it. It is our ambassadors and delegations abroad who are our first step in warning people of the dangers of trafficking. Does the Minister agree?

I strongly agree with my hon. Friend. We are working with foreign Governments to build their capacity to disrupt human trafficking—for example, we are working with judges and prosecutors in priority countries to increase prosecutions; we are working with the Serious Organised Crime Agency to prevent trafficking by building capacity; and we are addressing the root causes by alleviating poverty through our work with the Department for International Development.

The key necessity is to track down and prosecute those who are responsible for trafficking. Four international organisations are involved: Europol, Interpol, the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative, and the European Union. How are the Government attempting to co-ordinate those organisations?

I agree that it is desirable to co-ordinate that kind of international work, but we are also working in tandem with countries where our embassies are developing programmes of the type that I have just mentioned. We are not ruling out any ways of trying to achieve our common objectives.