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Eighty-four per cent of those working in brothels are trafficked women. Men who become involved with them may not realise that they are guilty of rape. To remind men of that, it has been suggested that Her Majesty’s Government should insist on brothels displaying prominent notices to that effect. That is not all that revolutionary as the Government have already obliged even churches to display “no smoking” signs. There have been many objections to that practice, but I have suggested that one answer would be to have the 10 Commandments listed on the front door of churches, with an additional 11th commandment, “Thou shalt not fume”.

Stop the Traffik must take action in four key areas: prevention, protection, prosecution and reintegration. We should adhere to the old adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and ensure that the Government's international aid is used effectively to tackle the poverty that enables trafficking to occur. This could prevent stories such as that of a young Czech mother of two who was brought to the UK under the pretence of becoming a waitress. She was brutally raped and beaten almost continuously until she managed to escape through the window of her Peterborough brothel. The subsequent involvement of the Cambridgeshire constabulary enabled her to be returned to her family. It is imperative that our Government help to lower the current US Department of State's estimate that annually about 600,000 to 800,000 people—mostly women and children—are trafficked across national borders and that does not include millions trafficked within their own countries.

Many worthy causes worldwide would benefit greatly from increased aid such as the Thai NGO, Development and Education Programme for Daughters and Communities, which utilises a mix of strategies to convince parents about the dangers of the illegal sex trade. In many successful cases, the decision of the child to continue her education overrides the parent’s desire for money. The charity Stop the Traffik is centred nearby at Waterloo. It is a growing global coalition of more than 900 member organisations from more than 50 countries, working together to combat human trafficking and to raise awareness and empower communities. Perhaps the Government would consider giving financial support to that splendid organisation.

The Joint Committee on Human Rights considers human trafficking to be,

It outlined the varying forms of enslavement: children drugged and forced to fight as soldiers; men bonded or chained in labour in mines and on farms; women enslaved in quarries and households; women and girls trapped in the sex trade; and boys forced to fish in dangerous waters. Once the victims get into these awful positions, it is crucial that Governments take care to protect them. The UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons stresses

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the importance of protecting the privacy of the victims once they are freed from traffickers, especially during the prosecution of the traffickers. The protocol also calls upon countries to maintain the human rights of the individuals involved by having secure and efficient systems in place to address the physical and emotional needs of the victims. It is essential that the UK is efficient in providing systems to protect the victims of traffickers if we want to stop these horrific crimes. Some of the children trafficked are as young as five and are brought secretly into Britain to work as domestic servants or in cannabis factories or for sexual exploitation or underage marriage. According to the UNICEF report, Rights Here, Rights Now,

To help plug the gaps in the system, UNICEF wants reforms, including a professional guardian for each trafficked child.

The appalling figures illustrate the need for all countries, including the UK, to maintain efficient and successful systems of prosecution and reintegration. The highly clandestine nature of the crime means that many cases remain unreported. This is further complicated because many victims are fearful of attacks on their family if they are involved in the prosecution of their traffickers. The privacy, dignity and security of the victim are paramount. We cannot allow a flawed system of prosecution or reintegration to cause further harm to these individuals who have already suffered so much.

The international nature of this crime demands an international response, and it is important that technical co-operation links between countries are maintained and strengthened. Information gained through these relationships would be invaluable for understanding the true extent of human trafficking. Special training could be extended to the areas where trafficking often occurs to enable local law enforcement to halt human trafficking at its source.

Our work does not finish when the victims return home. The process of reintegration is equally as important as rescue or prosecution. Victims are likely to have psychological scars and to encounter social stigma and may have difficulties in gaining employment, especially if they have been treated by law authorities as criminals, either as prostitutes or illegal migrants. The same poverty that made victims vulnerable to trafficking can also prevent successful reintegration. Many communities do not have the resources to provide training or support for returning victims. There are some positive examples, however, which indicate ways in which international aid could assist victims. In the government reintegration programmes in the Philippines, therapy sessions to overcome fear, shame and self-blame are provided in conjunction with programmes which give information on options available to victims for work, continuing education and vocational training. There are also NGO grants of financial and technical assistance for those interested in starting their own small businesses.

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As noble Lords may see, there are many areas where UK involvement would be much appreciated and needed. If there is any way that we can prevent trafficking, protect a victim of trafficking, prosecute a trafficker or enable a successful reintroduction to society for victims, it is imperative that we do so. Can Her Majesty's Government confirm that they are really committed to eradicating this horrendous practice? It is crucial to ensure that people are fully informed about the problem. This applies especially to professionals such as the police, social workers, MPs, councillors and many others. We will need all the help we can get to eradicate this horrendous practice.

1.15 pm

Lord Ramsbotham: My Lords, I, too, congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Darzi, on the breadth of his opening speech. Like other noble Lords, I look forward to the vigorous debate that he forecast on some of the issues.

If noble Lords had been sitting in the Gallery of the other place just before 10 o’clock on the night of 20 July 1910, they would have heard the then Home Secretary winding up in the debate on prison estimates. He said:

The 36 year-old Winston Churchill went on to say that in pursuit of that there must, among other things, be,

When I listened to the gracious Speech on Tuesday, I heard Her Majesty refer to the Government’s intention to rebalance the criminal justice system in favour of the victim. That is something I have never really been able to get my head around because I did not think that one rebalanced scales; I thought scales were balanced by evidence. I found the best description of what that means in the context of the criminal justice system on the walls of a young offender institution; it was “to prevent the next victim”. We prevent the next victim by rehabilitating people so that they do not create victims. There are no more important players in the rehabilitation process than the Department of Health, the Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills because the combination of looking at the healthcare and education needs of offenders is crucial to helping them live a useful and law-abiding life.

I shall not concentrate on healthcare, because I am sure that will be covered by others, but I shall turn to education. I do so because in recent years the ministries that I have mentioned have been responsible for the financial affairs of healthcare and education in prisons and are therefore responsible for the outcomes. Noble Lords may think it is the responsibility of the Ministry of Justice, but those departments’ contribution to the funding will make all the difference.

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On healthcare, I was particularly glad to hear the noble Lord, Lord Darzi, mention the importance of the development and use of the budgets, to which the noble Earl, Lord Howe, also paid considerable attention. Within those budgets there is one responsibility of primary care trusts that I never hear mentioned. It is the responsibility for providing diversion schemes for mentally disordered people when they enter the criminal justice system. A recent publication by the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Heath referred to diversion and stated:

My plea to the Department of Health is that it should pay much more attention to the provision of these diversionary schemes to enable that to happen because nobody else can do it.

I turn to the Education and Skills Bill. I was very glad that the noble Lord, Lord Darzi, mentioned the responsibility that the state has for young people in its care and that parents and carers should be able to choose the most appropriate education for them. I would of course include prisons in that because people in prison are also in the care of the state. Therefore, I was disappointed to discover that the brief I received on the Education and Skills Bill via the internet made no mention of offenders of any kind in the provisions for people up to the age of 18 and 19. That is disappointing because I hope that in building up the provision, that for people in the care of the state is examined.

The noble Lord, Lord Darzi, mentioned, quite rightly, the horrendous number of people who have been in care, and the failure particularly in their education which results in them going to prison. If you look at it the other way around, one is continually horrified by the vast numbers in prison who have come from care and who have failed in education and many other things. That matter really must be included in the future.

I do not think that I am politically correct in one of my major concerns in education, which is based on my first visit, as far as I can remember, to a British forces comprehensive school in Germany in 1966. This secondary school was achieving amazing results with children who arrived at about the most difficult times for schoolmasters. They arrived in the middle of term from all over the world as their fathers were posted in, and, of course, they left in the middle of term when their fathers were posted elsewhere.

However, the school was achieving astonishing results. I asked the headmaster why. He said: “It all boils down to the fact that every child has different abilities in different subjects. We assess their ability in each of those subjects and we send them to classes which are appropriate for their ability. We block the day so that the whole school does English, maths, history or whatever. Then the child goes to the class appropriate for their ability and is encouraged upwards according to that ability”. I said: “Goodness me, if that is comprehensive education I cannot think

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of anything better”. He said: “Unfortunately, that may be comprehensive education Hohne-style”—which was where the school was—“but it is not comprehensive education in a country where people move on by year and not by ability”.

There is a lot of heavily political discussion about that, which I do not intend to get into. However, it has always struck me about people in prison who dropped out of school and who mention frustration and boredom that very often it may have been because their ability was not assessed and channelled at the right time. I mention that because, as regards these young people in particular, I hope that in the Education and Skills Bill the Government will not lose sight of the importance of assessment at the very start to find out what the young person has in them—the treasure in their heart to which Winston Churchill referred—whether it is educational or vocational. That can then be harnessed and put to best use. There is only a limited time available, and it would be quite wrong for the state to waste that time.

What sort of assessment do I mean? I have previously mentioned in the House that I believe that one of the scourges of the 21st century is the inability of people to communicate with each other. They cannot talk; they do not listen; and they have not been engaged in conversation. That leads to an inability to conduct relationships. One of the worst effects of that is that they are unable to establish that very important first relationship with a teacher when they go to school. They do not know how to communicate with them.

Speech and language therapists should see every child before they start primary school to help them to communicate so that they can engage in the system and get the best out of it. In prisons that is desperately important in order to get prisoners involved in all the activities they are presented with. At the same time—and again this appears in the requirement to look at vocational skills in this Bill, which I am delighted to see—the aptitude test for vocational skills should be related to what people can do, not to what it is felt would be good for them to do, because self-esteem follows achievement and success. They have not had that. It is remarkable when you see what happens when people are suddenly faced with something they can do.

My final plea is that the role of the arts is not forgotten as an entry point, a trigger or an identification of what somebody can do on which they can build. The arts have always been seen, rightly, as an entry point to education, skills and training. I hope that that will not be forgotten.

That may seem a long way from the Bill presented to us. When looking through it, I was slightly concerned to see a long list of duties on parents, schools, local government and so on. I remind the House that there is a duty on government to make certain that provision is made. I was interested to see the Association of Colleges asking for a duty on the Government to provide proper independent advice and guidance to young people as well as high quality education and training.

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I am mightily encouraged by the attitude of the Ministry of Justice to its task. In what I have heard, the same goes for the attitude of the two new education ministries. There is a challenging agenda, but I hope on behalf of all young people, including those in custody in the care of the state, that the opportunities will be seized.

1.28 pm

Baroness Young of Hornsey: My Lords, like other noble Lords, I thank the Minister for his opening speech, especially the way in which he outlined the Government’s plans for children in care, which is what I would like to focus on.

First, I declare a few interests. My comments are informed by briefings from the NSPCC and the NCH. I am also a patron of the Post-Adoption Centre, which has been helpful in these matters. I should also state that although it was many years ago, I was closely connected with children in care and the challenges of living and working in the system. The Minister pointed to some of the dreadful statistics relating to this group, as has my noble friend Lord Ramsbotham.

I am most grateful to my noble friend for mentioning the arts. It is usually me who brings up that subject. It is particularly important in this context, especially in terms of raising levels of self-esteem and enabling children and young people to be told “Well done; you have done something that is worth noting and you are worth something”. Children in care particularly need to hear that.

I return to some of the statistics. Three times as many children in care are cautioned or convicted for an offence as children of the general population of that age group. There is a very low likelihood of their achieving A-levels, given the appalling rates of achievement at GCSE level, and therefore a very low chance indeed of their going to university. In addition, care leavers are more likely to end up homeless and/or suffering from mental ill health—and, as my noble friend Lord Ramsbotham stated, in prison.

With about 60,000 children in the care of local authorities, those facts represent a serious failure to enable thousands of young people to fulfil their potential. Sadly, the progress that has been made over the years since I was directly involved in the sector seems to have been minimal. I am therefore pleased to note the Government's stated intention to,

Surely few would disagree with that statement; so how is it to be made real?

The intention to place the role of the designated teacher on a statutory footing and to ensure that children in care do not move school in years 10 and 11 unless there are exceptional circumstances are two measures that I very much support and welcome. A designated teacher can provide the continuity and encouragement to achieve that is so often lacking from the lives of those young people. Our educational

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system, with its focus on frequent testing, presents children with opportunities to excel and to experience academic achievement. For many looked-after children, however, bearing in mind the disadvantages resulting from their status, those become more opportunities to reinforce their sense of failure. Years 10 and 11 are crucial years academically, but, in my view, keeping children in care in the same school if they are happy there should be an aim throughout their education, not just in those years. It is disruptive for any child to move school, but if school friends and teachers are the only people consistently present in your life, it is all the more crucial for those relationships to be sustained.

If a child in care demonstrates an aptitude for academic work—to be fair, that is not the be-all and end-all of education—what facilities and resources, both physical and human, are available to support and encourage him or her? What impact will raising the school leaving age to 18 have on young people in care? How will their specific needs be addressed? What kind of training and continuing professional development will be available for designated teachers to ensure that their skills and experience are up to scratch for that most vulnerable group? If such a young person manages to overcome all the obstacles and achieve the grades to go to university, where does that young person go during vacations if they are based in halls of residence? Who will be around to advise and mentor them and keep them going if they feel like giving up?

Another government aim is placement stability, which again is crucial, and ensuring more consistency for children in care. That affects their educational and life chances. In 2005-06, 65 per cent of the 23,000 young people under 16 who had been looked after for two and a half years or more had been in the same placement for at least two years or were being placed through adoption. The target for 2008 is that that 65 per cent should rise to 80 per cent of young people experiencing that level of stability. Is the care system on track to achieve that figure?

The NSPCC argues that:

That is an important point and I look forward to hearing more in response to that statement. The chances of anti-social behaviour, self-harm and a lack of self-confidence are much higher for children in care. They are also more likely to be bullied in school. I am inclined to think that therapeutic support ought to be more widely available for looked-after children.

I do not want to give the impression that I see children in care as hapless victims of an uncaring state. On the contrary, many of those whom I have met are resourceful, intelligent and very good at seeing through platitudes and noticing adults who treat them with condescension. They want to be consulted in a meaningful way. They want to have

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some control over their destiny, not be consulted at the end of a process, when their views will be used as window dressing for proposals that have already been determined. We should therefore make strong efforts to enable young people in care to voice their opinions and perspectives on the key issues that affect them and open up the possibilities for a genuinely child-focused approach. I hope that the Government listen to those young people and take note of what they say both through their advocates and in an unmediated form.

Children in the care of local authorities, whether in a children's home or in foster care, are likely to experience feelings of abandonment; to feel that no one loves them for what they are; to suffer from low self-esteem; and to feel that they do not belong. Legislation cannot make a child feel loved, but it can help to create the best chances of a child recovering from the devastation of being in care, for whatever reason.

1.35 pm

Baroness Emerton: My Lords, I, too, congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Darzi, on his opening of the debate on such a wide number of issues with such clarity. It is with pleasure that I support the concept of providing a healthcare system organised around the needs of patients, as proposed in the forthcoming Session in the gracious Speech. I also welcome the approach taken by the noble Lord in the London review, the interim report and the continuing work for the total NHS.

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