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Human Trafficking

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Office – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 19th June 2012.

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Photo of John Robertson John Robertson Labour, Glasgow North West 2:30 pm, 19th June 2012

What recent discussions he has had with the government of Singapore on human trafficking.

Photo of Jeremy Browne Jeremy Browne The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Our high commission in Singapore has supported local anti-trafficking initiatives. We welcome Singapore’s first national plan of action against trafficking in persons, published in March 2012, and look forward to further measures being implemented to tackle the problem.

Photo of John Robertson John Robertson Labour, Glasgow North West

We all agree that Singapore’s Government are moving in the right direction, and they have been backed up by EU parliamentarians. Is it not time that we used in the Commonwealth what has happened in Singapore and is happening in the EU? Is anything being done in the Commonwealth in relation to Singapore?

Photo of Jeremy Browne Jeremy Browne The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

It is fair to say that Singapore is not one of the nine priority countries on human trafficking that the Home Office identified last year, which are Nigeria, China, Vietnam, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Uganda, Romania, India and Albania. We nevertheless recognise that there are concerns. Progress has been made, and we are keen to work with others in the Commonwealth and further afield to make further progress.

Photo of David Burrowes David Burrowes Conservative, Enfield, Southgate

Given that human trafficking is a cross-Government issue, what steps is the Minister taking with the Department for International Development to ensure that as we pursue the millennium development goals and sustainable development goals, the goal of tackling human trafficking is not missed?

Photo of Jeremy Browne Jeremy Browne The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

My hon. Friend makes an important point. Every Department that is relevant to this serious abuse of human beings needs to be engaged, and is engaged, in trying to make further progress. That includes DFID as well as the Foreign Office and Home Office.