Mediterranean Sea: Human Trafficking

Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 26th May 2016.

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Photo of Anne Main Anne Main Conservative, St Albans

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the UK's naval contribution to EU anti-people trafficking operations in the Mediterranean.

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)

The UK is contributing HMS ENTERPRISE to Operation SOPHIA and eight staff to the Operational Headquarters. HMS ENTERPRISE has been valuable in developing a picture of the maritime environment and smuggling routes. UK assets have destroyed 27 vessels to prevent re-use and identified nine smugglers to the Italian authorities. Furthermore, UK ships have rescued over a quarter of the total number of migrants saved by the entire operation - 3,700 out of 13,700. More broadly, we assess that Operation SOPHIA has left the smugglers unable to operate with impunity in international waters. This is progress on which we can build. We remain committed to working with the Libyan Government of National Accord to move to the later phases of the operation once the right conditions are in place and prevent the smugglers from putting people to sea.

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