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Modern Day Slavery

Volume 566: debated on Monday 15 July 2013

12. What steps she is taking to make Britain more hostile to traffickers engaged in modern day slavery; and if she will make a statement. (164858)

The Government have a strong record in tackling modern slavery. We work closely with partners in priority source countries to stop people from being exploited, and to disrupt the organised criminals engaged in these appalling crimes. Our effective legislation and strong enforcement, in-country and at the border, will be further strengthened through the establishment of the National Crime Agency later this year.

The Government’s human trafficking strategy, published in 2011, pointed out that offenders

“perceive trafficking as a ‘low risk’ crime because of the relatively low risk of being caught”.

Since then, the risk of being caught, successfully prosecuted and convicted has reduced. What is the Home Secretary doing about it?

Of course, we disrupt groups involved in human trafficking not only by prosecuting people specifically in relation to human trafficking— sometimes, we use other prosecutions to do that. I recognise the concern in the House about human trafficking, and the excellent work done by my hon. Friend the Member for Wellingborough (Mr Bone) in the all-party group on human trafficking has ensured that we keep the issue at the forefront of our consideration. We do make every effort to ensure that we can prosecute people, be it specifically in relation to human trafficking or in other ways that can disrupt groups involved in human trafficking.

What is the Home Secretary doing to ensure that the hostility towards traffickers is not unfairly transferred to the victims of trafficking and that steps we are taking across government, particularly with the Ministry of Justice, will ensure that those victims of trafficking are not prosecuted?

I thank my hon. Friend for raising an issue of concern. If people have been forced into criminal activity as a result of their trafficking experience, consideration is given to discontinuing the prosecution. However, we often need to make sure that victims make their trafficking situation known, and the Crown Prosecution Service has issued comprehensive guidance on the steps that should be taken to make relevant inquiries.