Opposition Day — [6th allotted day]
Peter Bone (Wellingborough, Conservative)
It is a great pleasure to follow Ann McKechin, who made a powerful speech, particularly her point about the roots of human trafficking and the fact that the victims come from countries where there is grinding poverty. She also made a point about the need to increase the period of reflection for victims of human trafficking.
I congratulate Damian Green on securing an Opposition day debate that has been so well attended and thoughtful, and in which there has been so much cross-party agreement. The great advantage of such a debate is that it highlights the problem of human trafficking. It is also very helpful to have the Minister here; he has fought very hard within the Government to deal with that problem. It is also good to see the Solicitor-General on the Front Bench; she has shown a great deal of interest in this subject. I would like to congratulate Mr. Steen, who is the chair of the all-party group on trafficking of women and children. As the treasurer of that group, I know how he has used his energy and expertise to publicise this matter. If it had not been for his efforts, we may not have had this debate, and the resulting media coverage.
The greatest problem that I had with this issue was believing that it was actually happening. I first got involved when an anonymous letter from a constituent was dropped through my letterbox. I shall quote a part of it:
"I am a self-employed therapist and yet there are women who are on benefits and paying no taxes—i.e. in Northampton an Albanian massage parlour are allowed to advertise and I have been told the men do people trafficking and drugs and the girls pay no tax...I am a professional lady and I get fed up with them asking for sex without a condom (I only do massage) and they are causing AIDS to spread. Please talk to the tax office and the police as somebody told me the Romanians in Northampton allow prostitution to flourish on the red light district"—
and she then gave a mobile telephone number.