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Immigration: Crime

Volume 699: debated on Monday 3 March 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they have any evidence of babies and children being brought to the United Kingdom for street crime, benefit fraud or illegal adoption. [HL1991]

There is evidence of Romanian children being trafficked into the UK for the purpose of street crime. The recent police raids in Slough on 24 January saw the arrests of 24 Romanian adults and the rescue of 10 children. These arrests were part of a wider police operation to disrupt Romanian organised crime gangs and rescue victims of the child traffickers.

The Government commissioned the Child Exploitation Online Protection Centre (CEOP) to scope the extent of child trafficking into and within the UK. Its report (2007) identified six children who had been trafficked specifically for benefit fraud. Where benefit fraud is suspected investigations are carried out on a case-by-case basis.

Where the Department for Children, Schools and Families has information that British residents have brought children into the UK for adoption which breach the requirements and conditions of UK adoption law, such information is referred to the relevant public authorities. These include the police in whose area the prospective adopters live and where there is reason to suspect the child is at risk of harm, the local authority is informed.