HC Deb 18 July 2002 vol 389 c548W
Mr. Cox

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether there is a specific offence in United Kingdom law on the trafficking of human beings; and if he will make a statement. [70121]

Beverley Hughes

The Government are committed to ensuring that stronger measures are in place to penalise people who traffic in human beings. We have signed the protocol on trafficking to the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organised Crime and have negotiated an European Union Framework Decision, which commits the United Kingdom to introducing offences of trafficking for the purposes of labour or sexual exploitation within two years of its adoption.

We have acted quickly to deal with the worst forms of exploitation by creating a new offence of trafficking for the purposes of controlling someone in prostitution within the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill currently before Parliament. It will carry a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment, as for drug trafficking offences. This is a stop gap offence pending more wide-ranging offences of trafficking for sexual and labour exploitation when parliamentary time permits, which will implement our international obligations.