Children (Sexual Exploitation)

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 10th May 2004.

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Photo of Fiona Mactaggart Fiona Mactaggart Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) 2:30 pm, 10th May 2004

I thank my hon. Friend, and I note his continued commitment to the issue. I think that, like me, he will welcome the additional work that has come out of the Sexual Offences Act 2003: tough new offences, better collaboration between social services and immigration, action to prevent the problem by working with source and transit countries and, as he pointed out, other appropriate support for victims. We are working across key agencies at principal entry points to identify children at risk. Operation Paladin has just been concluded. It involved a range of different authorities dealing with unaccompanied children, or children accompanied by someone other than their parents, to see what situation they are coming to and what the child protection issues are. We will be learning the lessons from that. Child victims of trafficking are likely to need welfare services and, in many cases, protection under the Children Act 1989. We look forward to working with our colleagues in the Department for Education and Skills to ensure that that happens.