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Human Trafficking

Volume 558: debated on Monday 11 February 2013

The UK works closely with partners in source countries to disrupt organised human trafficking gangs. We work hard to apprehend criminals both in those countries and in the United Kingdom.

What assessment has my hon. Friend made of section 14 of the Policing and Crime Act 2009 in protecting the victims of trafficking in the UK domestic prostitution market?

That issue was raised during a recent debate in Westminster Hall, and the Government continue to keep it under review. My hon. Friend may be interested to know that this afternoon I will meet officers of the all-party group on human trafficking, including my hon. Friend the Member for Wellingborough (Mr Bone), the Baroness Butler-Sloss and Anthony Steen, and I hope we will have further discussions in due course.

Does the Minister believe that the sentences available to the courts are stringent enough to stop unscrupulous agents misleading and forcing women into harsh domestic labour and the sex industry in the United Kingdom?

I think the sentences that are available are harsh enough. It is sometimes difficult to get evidence to prosecute people for the right offences. For example, people are often not necessarily prosecuted for trafficking offences when other offences are more easily proven. The range of sentencing powers is available: it is our job to make sure that they are properly used by prosecutors.