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Westminster Hall debate (3 Feb ) - Human trafficking

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Finally someone says the right things:

Damian Green (Shadow Minister, Home Affairs; Ashford, Conservative)

I have some suggestions and questions for the Minister. One important point, although it has barely come up in this debate, is that we should not merge debates and disputes about human trafficking with debates and disputes about prostitution. That point was briefly referred to by Tom Brake, who speaks for the Liberal Democrats in this area. However, previous debates on this issue have been almost entirely about prostitution, which is obviously a hugely difficult and sensitive subject in itself. My fear is that if the debates get merged, action on trafficking might be delayed. Not all prostitutes are victims of trafficking and not all victims of trafficking are prostitutes.

For a few years now, many Members, including me, have been citing figures showing that one of the shocking changes in prostitution is that 85 per cent. of prostitutes working in Britain now come from abroad, and most are the victims of trafficking. However, in recent weeks and months, those figures have been questioned and there is now a legitimate debate about them. Therefore, I fear that framing legislation on combating prostitution might delay necessary moves against trafficking, which would be wholly counter-productive.

Mr. Jorgen Carling, who has studied the trafficking of Nigerian women to Europe, says that

"it is rarely possible to draw the absolutely clear line that policymakers want between 'innocent victimhood' and 'willing participation'".

There is clearly a spectrum, so I hope that the Government will not get drawn into merging the two debates on prostitution and trafficking.


and later in the debate

Anthony Steen (Totnes, Conservative)

The Home Secretary has a letter from me detailing five NGOs that receive no money from the Government; the POPPY project gets it all. It should be more fairly distributed.

the transcript is here:

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