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People Trafficking

Volume 709: debated on Tuesday 24 March 2009


The Government are investing a further £3.7 million over the next two years into the Poppy Project to help vulnerable victims of human trafficking. The Poppy Project, managed by Eaves Housing for Women, has provided refuge to hundreds of victims of human trafficking since 2003, backed by £5.8 million of government support. This new investment will help to meet the commitments of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, which the UK ratified in December 2008, coming into force in April. It is part of a wider package for victims, with the introduction of a 45-day extendable recovery and reflection period, new temporary residence permits for those participating in a criminal investigation and a more co-ordinated and multi-agency way of identifying and referring victims into support.

The new resources will see:

an expansion of supported accommodation with refuge places for victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation and domestic servitude in London, Sheffield and Cardiff;

an increase in advocacy workers to provide one-to-one tailored support to victims, facilitating their access to services and helping them through the criminal justice process;

the continuation of the community outreach team;

link workers based within the UK Human Trafficking Centre to work in partnership with the police, the UK Border Agency and other partners to help with victim identification and onward referral into support; and

a new national co-ordinator to help to set consistent standards of care, capacity build and raise awareness with local agencies and funders.

Victims are often subjected to multiple crimes including rape, physical violence, kidnapping and threats. The Government are committed to making the United Kingdom a hostile environment for traffickers and protecting victims. We published a comprehensive UK action plan in March 2007, which was updated on 2 July 2008. We will continue to work internationally and in this country to combat these crimes.