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Human Trafficking (Compensation)

Volume 566: debated on Monday 15 July 2013

14. How much has been received under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 from those convicted of human trafficking in the last three years; how much has been paid out to victims of trafficking in compensation; and if she will make a statement. (164860)

The Government are committed to fighting human trafficking, as my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary set out in an earlier answer. Over £2 million has been recovered from traffickers in the past three years. Victims can apply for criminal injuries compensation and the Government pay £3 million a year for support services for victims through our contract with the Salvation Army. The figures on compensation paid to trafficking victims are not collected centrally.

As victims are usually without support of any kind once they have left Government-funded shelters, and the avenues for claiming compensation are extremely limited, would it not make sense to take the funds confiscated from traffickers and put them into a fund for the benefit of victims of abuse?

I thank my hon. Friend for his question. I would say a couple of things. First, the Government think that the priority should be making it easier for victims to secure compensation from confiscated assets, and we are working with the Ministry of Justice and the Crown Prosecution Service to achieve that. Secondly, victims of trafficking who leave Government-funded support through our contract are helped appropriately, either to return to their home country to a safe environment where they will not be retrafficked or, if they claim asylum through the asylum system or if their immigration status allows, to remain in the United Kingdom.

Is not the point what was put to the Minister by the hon. Member for Croydon South (Richard Ottaway)? An amount is collected, and we have no indication or record as to how much of that is paid to victims. Until we know that we do not know how efficient the system is, and the Minister needs to know.

The point I made is that information on awards made by judges in compensation orders and so on is not collected by the Government. However, we spend £3 million on our Salvation Army contract, which supports victims of trafficking to give them a period of reflection after they have been saved from traffickers. That is a valuable process that we continue to support.