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Lord Rooker: The United Kingdom was one of the first countries to sign the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organised Crime (UNTOC) Protocol on the trafficking of human beings and is fully committed to implementing its measures.
Information concerning the number of signatories to the protocol is the responsibility of the United Nations. Full details of signatories can be found on the official website at www.odccp.org/crimecicpsignatoriestrafficking.html.
Lord Rooker: The adoption of the European Union Framework Decision on trafficking in human beings is now a matter for the Spanish Presidency. The Spanish Presidency have indicated that they will be seeking adoption of the Framework Decision at the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 28 February.
Lord Rooker: Forming an accurate estimate of the levels of trafficking in people is problematic due to the hidden nature of the act and there is currently no accurate, reliable data in existence within the UK or the European Union. A Home Office research study Stopping Traffic (Police Research Series 125), published in 2000, indicated that although there was intelligence to suggest that some women and children are trafficked into the UK for the purposes of sexual exploitation, it was impossible to make an accurate assessment of numbers, but there was no evidence to suggest that this was on a large scale compared with other European countries.
It is open to any public or private organisation to submit bids for the co-financing of projects within the scope of the STOP II Programme, which normally amounts to a maximum of 70 per cent of the total cost of the project. Of the 39 projects submitted for funding under the Year 2001 round, 15 had United Kingdom involvement. Of these, 12 organisations were successful in their bids for funding. The United Kingdom takes the lead with five of these successful bids via the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS), Forensic Science Service (FSS), Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), and the University of North London and CHANGE.
Lord Rooker: The Government are working with the United Nations, national governments and non-government organisations to address the problem of human trafficking and to provide support for the victims of this serious crime.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has supported a number of programmes designed to tackle the trafficking of human beings in the Western Balkans region and has provided a total of £200,000 to fund various anti-trafficking projects implemented under the auspices of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe's democratisation arm, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. The figure of £75,000 has also been paid to the non-governmental organisation (NGO) CHANGE, for a project aimed at identifying, collecting and analysing information on NGOs and governmental organisations (globally) which are working with women who are trafficked for the purposes of prostitution, marriage or domestic service.
This assistance complements proactive projects working with law enforcement and government agencies in south-eastern Europe to identify and disrupt trafficking networks. The United Kingdom-led EU initiative in Bosnia (Project Immpact) has led to indentification of trafficked women in Bosnia with EU experts working closely with local officials.
Other funded projects are supported by the Department for International Development (DfID) and include support for the International Labour Organisation programme in the Greater Mekong region which covers parts of Cambodia, China, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. This involves a number of interlinked interventions to raise awareness and prevent trafficking, and to withdraw women and children from labour exploitation and reintegrate them back into their own or new communities. The ILO has received £3 million in funding for this.
DfID support has also been given to Anti-Slavery International's project in West Africa, which includes Benin, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Ghana, Niger and Togo. This programme is designed to develop the capacity and commitment of local non-government organisations to end trafficking and abuse of child domestic workers. This includes raising awarness of the abuses suffered and remedial action to which £70,000 has been provided.
In addition, DfID is supporting IOM's training programme in the Balkans. A training of trainers packages and materials will be developed and targeted at all relevant actors, including international and national police, social workers and the legal profession. The programme will provide valuable resources to those working on this issue, as well as lessons to be learned in order to pursue similar work in other regions and has been given the figure of £360,000 to meet this aim.
Lord Rooker: Since the establishment of Project Reflex in March 2000, the National Crime Squad has to date led 19 investigations into organised immigration crime. To date there have been 15 United Kingdom and 22 overseas arrests of trafficking facilitators, with seven convictions in the United Kingdom and six overseas. Some of these investigations are still ongoing or awaiting trial. The international and complex nature of investigations means that they can take many months to complete.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): We recognise the importance of promoting a range of joint activities between children from different faiths and cultures to encourage tolerance, respect and understanding. However, our policies are not specific to faith schools. All schools with predominance of one ethnic or religious group have a responsibility to reach out to other schools.
Specialist and beacon schools are required to form partnerships with other schools and the wider community; and Excellence in Cities is a programme delivered by local partnerships of schools to give deprived inner-city pupils the same opportunities as their peers elsewhere.
We are also preparing guidance for school organisation committees so that in future, when decisions are made on proposals for new schools, including faith schools, their potential for inclusiveness and partnership working with other faith-based and non-faith schools will be taken into account. We will give promoters of new schools examples of possible partnership arrangements, including the promotion of joint cultural and sporting activities.
The department is funding the educational strand of the Spirit of Friendship Festival that aims, in 2002, to draw together children and young people in shared sporting activites, and in active engagement in the celebration of cultural diversity.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Bach): The Greek Government have provided this information to NATO in confidence. We are therefore withholding the information in accordance with Exemption 1(c) of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information which relates to information received in confidence from foreign governments, foreign courts or international organisations.
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