What steps the Director of Public Prosecutions is taking to raise awareness among prosecutors of best practice in prosecuting human trafficking offences; and whether current legislation is being used to prosecute such cases effectively.
Guidance is issued to prosecutors by the Crown Prosecution Service and supported by an e-learning programme. Cases are being prosecuted effectively, and the Director of Public Prosecutions is holding a round table on human trafficking on
Does the Solicitor-General agree that prioritising the issue of child sex tourism is critical and that robust action should be taken to apprehend, prosecute and enforce legislation against child sex tourists, as highlighted by the Stop it Together campaign recently launched by the International Justice Mission?
I congratulate my hon. Friend and the all-party group on human trafficking and modern day slavery on their involvement and the campaign. New legislation came into force on
The Solicitor-General will be aware of the landmark case of L and others, decided by the Court of Appeal in May, which said that victims of trafficking should not be prosecuted, yet if I visit our prisons, I see in jail young Vietnamese trafficked to Britain to be cannabis farmers. What is he doing about that? Will he meet the Secretary of State for Justice to get those innocent victims of trafficking freed?
The Inter-Departmental Ministerial Group on Human Trafficking was set up for the purpose of liaising across Government and has met very recently. The hon. Lady raises an important point: victims of trafficking should not be prosecuted for offences that arise from that. Of course, there can be cases that do not arise from their trafficking where they may end up before the courts, but the principle that she sets out and which the Court has adumbrated is one that the Government accept.
My hon. Friend will know that the Government have liaison magistrates and others around the world helping to build capacity in that area. We look at the international experience, and it is important to do so; but having said that, the number of people prosecuted in this country for such human trafficking offences is increasing, and we are determined that that should continue.
Tackling human trafficking requires getting tough on perpetrators and, as we have talked about, providing more support for victims. Given that two thirds of trafficked children rescued then go missing again, why will the Government not now sign up to the EU directive on human trafficking, which would ensure that independent guardians were appointed for child victims of trafficking?
The hon. Lady is right that we should support the victims of trafficking, and a great deal of work is done to achieve that—for example, she will know of the work of the Salvation Army. I was very impressed, visiting the north-west area of the CPS, by the work being done and the substantial support being given to witnesses in order to achieve successful prosecutions. That work needs to continue and be spread.
Has the Solicitor-General had, or does he plan to have, any consultation with the Northern Ireland authorities about the excellent legislation on human trafficking that is currently before the Northern Ireland Assembly? It would effectively increase the number of prosecutions of people who commit this terrible crime.