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Human Trafficking

Volume 541: debated on Tuesday 28 February 2012

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Home Office work closely with other EU member states to try to prevent human trafficking. Three of the countries recognised in the Government’s human trafficking strategy—Romania, the Czech Republic and Slovakia—are EU member states. We are working with partners in these countries to help to combat trafficking at source.

I pay tribute to the Foreign Secretary for his work in raising awareness of modern-day slavery. Given the international nature of human trafficking, what support has the Minister provided to the European Commission-backed project, led by the Human Trafficking Foundation, to set up a parliamentary network on trafficking that aims to promote and strengthen a network of parliamentarians and businesses against trafficking in human beings throughout all EU member states?

I share my hon. Friend’s abhorrence of this terrible crime. We are keen to work through the Commission and through other bodies in the European Union, at Parliament-to-Parliament level, and at Government-to-Government level. For example, we share skills, knowledge and experience, and fund projects that help countries to tackle the problem at source.

The whole House will share the Minister’s abhorrence of this form of modern slavery. Will he give an absolute guarantee that nothing that this Government negotiate at the European level will make it more difficult for women, in particular, who have been trafficked to be given proper refuge in this country and that nothing will give them an incentive to continue in slavery rather than risk being sent back to their country of origin to be re-trafficked?

Our intention always is to give paramount importance to the victims of such crime. When we negotiate in the European Union and elsewhere, we try to give those victims the most protection that we can.