Dorset MP raises issue of human trafficking as search for missing Ringwood girl continues (From Bournemouth Echo)
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Dorset MP raises issue of human trafficking as search for missing Ringwood girl continues
A DORSET MP has questioned the Government over human trafficking as the search for a missing teenager continues.
Annette Brooke, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole, questioned the Home Office minister James Brokenshire on what progress the government is making to tackle the problem of human trafficking.
It comes as police continued their search yesterday for Suong Thi Bui, 17, who went missing from her home in Ringwood earlier this month.
There are growing fears for the safety of the teenager, who was brought to the UK by a criminal gang involved in human trafficking and speaks little English.
Following their media appeal, police have received many calls, with unconfirmed sightings stretching as far as Blandford to London to Chichester.
The minister informed Mrs Brooke that the Government was intending to publish a modern slavery Bill to crack down on instances of trafficking.
The Bill will seek to increase the maximum sentences for perpetrators, limit their future activity and create an anti-slavery commissioner.
Mrs Brooke said in the Commons: “I fear that too many trafficked children currently do not receive the support they need.
“Will the Government consider including a proposal in the forthcoming legislation to appoint independent guardians to ensure that these vulnerable young people have advocates to access support?”
Mr Brokenshire said: “I note that the report recently published by the Children’s Society and the Refugee Council made a number of the points my honourable friend has made.
“Local authorities already have a statutory duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of trafficked children in their care.
“That is not applied as well across local authorities as it should be.
"We have a major programme of work in place to transform the care system and we will be focusing on this specific vulnerable group.”
Hampshire Police said Suong was last seen at her home in Lawrence Road, Ringwood, at 4am Saturday, October 19.
She speaks little English and has no means of buying food.
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