To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what discussions she has had with the Home Secretary on (a) the number of women brought into the United Kingdom to be sold into the vice trade and (b) improving the support and assistance for such women who agree to help the authorities in a prosecution case against those who trafficked them.
As a member of the Ministerial Group on Human Trafficking, I work closely with Home Office colleagues to ensure that provision for victims is sensitive to women's needs.
We do not have the evidence base to enable us to estimate the number of trafficking victims brought into the UK to be sold into the vice trade. We are seeking more evidence of all human trafficking, including trafficking for sexual exploitation, as part of our current consultation on the proposed UK Action Plan on human trafficking. In that consultation, we state that we will publish research into the harm caused by organised immigration crime, including trafficking. This research will provide a better understanding of the trafficking problem faced in the UK and will be updated annually. This year we will commence a scoping exercise focused on trafficking and the off-street prostitution market.
The UK recognises the needs of victims of trafficking and the POPPY scheme already provides a supporting and protective environment in which victims can receive care and support while deciding whether to assist the authorities. We propose to increase the geographical coverage of support services for victims and introduce support at varying levels of intensity according to individual need. We will also use the evaluation of the POPPY scheme and the responses to the consultation on the UK Action Plan to inform our decisions on the nature and scope of future support.