HC Deb 08 September 2003 vol 410 c64W
Sandra Gidley

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the timetable the British Government has set for ratifying the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. [127962]

Mr. Rammell

The United Kingdom signed this Optional Protocol in September 2000 and intends to ratify it at the earliest opportunity. To be able to ratify, we need to introduce a range of new offences to ensure that we are fully compliant with the instrument. Several of these, relating to trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation and the sexual exploitation of children for gain, are included in the Sexual Offences Bill currently before Parliament.

The Optional Protocol also requires the criminalisation of behaviour which does not fall within the scope of the Sexual Offences Bill, such as trafficking people with the aim of: exploiting their labour; organ transfer and illegal adoptions. These measures are being pursued separately and will also require primary legislation. It is not therefore possible to say precisely when we will be able to ratify the instrument.

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