HL Deb 23 February 2004 vol 658 cc26-7WA
Lord Hylton

asked Her Majesty's Government:

When they intend to achieve ratification of the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, which was signed in December 2000. [HL1105]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal)

The United Kingdom has signed the United Nations Protocol to Prevent and Punish Trafficking in Persons, but is not yet in a position to ratify the document, as we have not fulfilled our legislative requirements to criminalise trafficking. The Government are committed to tackling human trafficking in all its forms, and to ensuring that these legislative requirements are met. The Sexual Offences Act 2003, which we anticipate is coming into force in May 2004, includes offences covering trafficking into, within and out of the United Kingdom. A new offence covering trafficking for the purposes of forced labour and removal of organs, is included in the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants etc) Bill, which is currently before Parliament. These legislative measures, once brought into force, will enable us to ratify the United Nations Trafficking Protocol, as well as fulfilling our obligations under the European Union Framework Decision on Trafficking for the Purposes of Sexual and Labour Exploitation.