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Trafficking In Persons

Volume 623: debated on Tuesday 20 March 2001

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will respond to the recommendations made in the report

Stopping Traffic: Exploring the extent of and responses to, Trafficking of Women for sexual exploitation in the UK by Liz Kelly and Linda Regan, published as Police Research Series Paper 125 by the Home Office. [HL867]

The Government have noted the recommendations of the report Stopping Traffic. The Home Office is currently doing work on a number of fronts to tackle the problem of trafficking. The Home Office published a review of sexual offences, Setting the Boundaries, in July 2000, which recommends to the Government that a specific offence of trafficking for sexual exploitation be established—these recommendations have been the subject of consultation until the beginning of March. The Government are also currently negotiating a European Union Framework Decision on Trafficking in Human Beings, which would require harmonisation of member states' laws on trafficking. In parallel with this, the Protocol on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children for Sexual Purposes, which supplements the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organised Crime, calls upon participating states to criminalise the trafficking of persons. The Government have strongly supported efforts to introduce an agreed international instrument which addresses this particularly offensive trade in human beings, and signed the Convention and its Protocols in November 2000.A multi-agency task force has been established to improve the response to people smuggling and trafficking. Aims of this task force include ensuring that good intelligence is developed which leads to effective operational deployment against those organising trafficking, and creating a central database of information. There will be liaison with Europol and European partners.The Immigration Service (IS) is also increasing its commitment to the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) by deploying additional staff at its headquarters within its Organised Immigration Crime Section (OICS) and its International Section and at its regional offices. In co-operation with NCIS, IS is expanding the number of Immigration Liaison Officers stationed abroad initially with new posts in central Europe and the Balkans. These officers will work with European Union colleagues and local law enforcement agencies to target trafficking and smuggling routes and the racketeers organising them.We are also considering what needs to be done to create the circumstances in which a non-governmental organisation could be formed which would provide support and advice to the victims of trafficking.