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Sex Offenders

Volume 685: debated on Monday 9 October 2006

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What use they have made of the information provided by ECPAT UK (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and the Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes) concerning the cases of 90 British individuals charged with abuse in foreign countries; and what is their assessment of the likelihood that this information will lead to convictions.[HL7311]

From time to time, ECPAT UK has forwarded to the Home Office information, such as newspaper articles from publications overseas, which has helped to illustrate the scale and nature of sexual offending against children overseas by British tourists. That information is shared with the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP). CEOP does assist in the training of police officers overseas but the guilt or innocence of the suspects referred to in the articles is a matter for the courts in those countries. In addition, the FCO will inform CEOP of the arrest for serious crimes of British nationals abroad, including all sexual offences committed against children. Where the police here are aware that an individual has returned to the United Kingdom following a conviction or caution for a sexual offence overseas they are advised to apply for a notification order, which will make the returnee subject to the notification requirements of Part 2 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (commonly known as the sex offenders register).

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Why the National Framework to Safeguard Children from Commercial Sexual Exploitation has not been updated since 2001; and when they intend to update it.[HL7312]

In 2002, the department published an update and work programme which represented a revised National Plan for Safeguarding Children from Commercial Exploitation. This issue remains a priority for Government, and we have taken forward a number of initiatives, including the creation of new offences in relation to sexual exploitation in the Sexual Offences Act 2003; the publication of a toolkit to help professionals tackle trafficking; the 2004 review of prostitution which resulted in the publication in January this year of a new co-ordinated prostitution strategy, one of the key objectives of which is the reduction of all forms of commercial sexual exploitation; the establishment in April of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre; publication of the new Working Together to Safeguard Children in April 2006, the main inter-agency guide to working together to safeguard and promote the welfare of children; and the establishment by April 2006 of Local Safeguarding Children Boards, which have a role in co-ordinating work to safeguard children from sexual exploitation in each local area. Our priority is to take forward the practical implementation of the policy changes outlined above.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What conclusions have been reached so far by the multi-agency group facilitated by the Home Office on sex tourism issues; whether its recommendations are being implemented; and whether the Department for International Development is involved.[HL7313]

A multi-agency group was hosted by the Home Office to prepare for the introduction of foreign travel orders, civil orders which can be obtained to prevent the travel of those who pose a risk of serious sexual harm to a child or children overseas. After the introduction of those orders on 1 May 2004 the group—which included a representative from the Department for International Development—met periodically to discuss the wider issue of travelling sex offenders but it added little to work aimed at safeguarding children and was disbanded. The Home Office has, however, continued to work with others to ensure that children, wherever they may be in the world, are protected from sex offenders. A review of our policy and legislation towards travelling sex offenders was conducted earlier this year. That review sought the views of other government departments, law enforcement agencies and non-governement organisations such as ECPAT and we will be announcing our findings later in the year.