Declares that the petitioners believe that the continuing and increasing incidence of human trafficking into the UK and across the world is a disturbing situation that brings misery to many adults and children across the globe; notes that the petitioners believe human trafficking is a stain on the moral values of the UK; and notes that the petitioners support the "STOP THE TRAFFIK" campaign.
Human trafficking is a brutal form of organised crime where people are treated as commodities and exploited for criminal gain. Home Office research suggests that in 2009 there were up to 2,600 victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation in England and Wales.
The UK takes a comprehensive approach to combating trafficking, combining a robust approach to enforcement and prosecutions with arrangements to identify and support victims of trafficking. This is in line with the UK's international commitments, chiefly under the UN Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime (and in particular the Palermo Protocol) and the Council of Europe Convention on Trafficking Against Human Beings.
The UK works to prevent trafficking in many ways. We work to understand the nature and scale of the problem through estimates of trafficking for sexual exploitation and a scoping study on labour trafficking; by reducing demand at home, by raising awareness and reducing demand upstream through international development programmes.
A range of UK enforcement agencies help to combat trafficking. The Serious Organised Crime Agency gathers intelligence and deploys specialist resources, co-ordinates programmes and activities across UK law enforcement agencies, and leads on upstream enforcement activities in key source and transit countries, in conjunction with overseas law enforcement agencies. The UK Border Agency also plays a crucial role in tackling trafficking through gathering intelligence, border protection (at home and overseas) and taking enforcement action against employers who may be using trafficked labour. The UK Human Trafficking Centre (now part of SOCA but retaining its own role and identity) is a central
point of co-ordination for intelligence, analysis and operational activities around human trafficking. All 55 Police Forces have a Senior Investigator trained in human trafficking, and all new police officers get training on human trafficking.
Victim care is central to the UK's approach to combating trafficking. The aim is to ensure that all victims receive the right support and protection. We have established a National Referral Mechanism to improve identification and protection of trafficking victims, which we are currently reviewing to ensure its effectiveness. Identified victims of trafficking are provided with specialist support and accommodation to enable them to recover from their ordeal, including accommodation, advocacy, counselling, legal advice, interpretative services and reintegration assistance if they return home.
We view the trafficking of children as a very serious offence and acknowledge that where children are found to be trafficked, their safety and welfare needs are urgently addressed. All trafficked children are entitled to the same protection as UK nationals and the primary responsibility for safeguarding children falls to local authorities.
Declares that the petitioners, whilst recognising the current pressure on public finances, believe that the cost to the public purse of a new railway station in Bromsgrove would be more than offset by the resulting economic and environmental benefits for both Bromsgrove and the wider region; and notes that there is uncertainty about the availability of Government funding for this project.
I am aware that the growth in demand for rail travel from Bromsgrove means that the existing station does not have platforms long enough to accommodate the longer trains expected to be needed to cope with the number of people expected to use the services which call there.
The preferred option to address this issue proposed by Worcestershire County Council is to build a new station to the south of the existing station. This would increase the amount of car parking available to rail users and provide better interchange with other forms of transport than would be possible at the existing site.
This solution is supported by other rail industry partners and it would complement the proposal to electrify the railway line from Barnt Green to Longbridge and extend "cross city" services to and from Birmingham and beyond, to terminate at Bromsgrove rather than Longbridge.
The West Midlands Region had proposed to contribute £5 million from its Regional Funding Allocation from Government towards this project. In common with other schemes to be funded through this mechanism, consideration of this scheme has been suspended pending
the outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review. This has been necessary given the Government's priority of tackling the budget deficit.
After the Spending Review and the consequent allocation of funds to local authorities and other bodies by the Government, Worcestershire County Council and other potential funding partners will need to consider whether this project remains a priority for funding from capital budgets.