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People Trafficking

Volume 691: debated on Monday 30 April 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will withdraw their derogation from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child before Parliament ratifies the European convention on action against trafficking. [HL2377]

The Council of Europe convention on trafficking deals with particular activities that we are also seeking to combat. It defines those activities and sets out procedures to combat them that are practical, in such a way that signatories are aware when they are achieving compliance. It requires parties who sign to accept back a victim of trafficking who is a national, and that children will not be returned if there is an indication, following a risk and security assessment, that such a return would not be in the “best interests” of the child.

The UN convention does not contain such definitions. It is written in terms of broad statements rather than precise legal language and it is possible for signatory countries to interpret it in different ways. Notwithstanding the reservation, we consider that we have sufficient protection for children and safeguards for their welfare in our own domestic laws.