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Baroness Blatch: This gives me an opportunity to thank the noble and learned Lord, Lord Cameron of Lochbroom. There is confusion in the Bill about the way in which it will be enacted vis-a-vis the different jurisdictions. I raised that at an earlier stage and was promised a reply to a particular question.
For the purposes of our debate, we need clarification on whether this is a reserved matter, because that is pertinent to where one goes from here. If it is not a reserved matter, it raises one set of questions; if it is a reserved matter, it raises a different set of questions. One way or another, the matter will have to be resolved and there must be a proper understanding about the way in which the Bill will work in practice.
I thank the noble and learned Lord, Lord Cameron of Lochbroom, who has very ably spoken to his particular amendment. However, there is a wider issue to be resolved once and for allthe way in which the Bill will be enacted vis-a-vis the different jurisdictions.
Lord Falconer of Thoroton: I thank the noble and learned Lord, Lord Cameron of Lochbroom, for raising this matter and for giving me notice in writing some time ago about this provision. It is important, so I shall take a tiny bit of time to explain it. I shall also answer the questions raised by the noble Baroness, Lady Blatch.
Trafficking is defined in Clauses 61 to 63 as arranging or facilitating travel for the purpose of committing a relevant offence anywhere in the world. Clause 64(1)(e), which this amendment would remove, is needed because the relevant offence may be committed anywhere in the world. It explains what a relevant offence means when it is committed outside England, Wales or Northern Ireland.
I understand that the noble and learned Lord has concerns over the extent of the offences as they apply to Scotland. However, by removing the paragraph he also casts doubt on the scope of our trafficking offences as they apply abroad. I understand the essence of his concern. The Bill does not apply to Scotlandhe is right about that. The criminal law is a devolved matter to be dealt with by the Scottish Parliament. "And yet", he is saying, "you could have an offence that was completely Scottish in every single respect that could be tried in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. Is that right?" That is the question that he is posing by his amendment.
As drafted, it would be an offence for a person in London to organise for a person to be trafficked to Nigeria to be forced into prostitution. Clause 64(1)(e) ensures that that is still an offence even though the victim will be forced into prostitution in Nigeria rather than in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. Removing the provision would prevent that from happening, which nobody would want.
As regards the specific position of Scotland and trafficking, the situation is complicated, but I do not see a problem with the provision remaining. Although it is true that the provision gives English, Welsh and Northern Irish courts jurisdiction over acts carried out anywhere in the UK, it is likely that, where appropriate, any acts carried out in or in relation to Scotland would be tried by the Scottish courts under their own trafficking provisions. Those provisions are contained in Section 22 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003, which stipulates in Scottish law that it is an offence to traffic someone into, out of, or within the UK for the purposes of exploiting them in prostitution or pornography. In keeping with our offences, that carries a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment.
So I entirely appreciate the concerns of the noble and learned Lord. He is right in his analysis of the legal position in relation to the Bill. However, in saying that, I am referring to his bare analysis and not to some of the adjectives that were occasionally applied. As there is this complementary provision under Scottish law, produced by the Scottish Parliament, the problem would be dealt with in practice.
Trafficking is an issue of international concern and extensive jurisdiction is essential for us to be able to address the problem effectively. It is right that in this climate of devolution the Scots have their own comprehensive legislation to tackle it also, but we must ensure that the UK as a whole is able to tackle this most abhorrent example of exploitation and abuse. I
Lord Cameron of Lochbroom: I am very grateful to the Minister for his reply. It is perhaps unfortunate that it could not have been made plainer that Scotland was excepted from the scope of Clause 64(1)(e). That might be a way through. Of course I did not intend to press the amendment. I was well aware of the much more general intention of the provision. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
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