§ Mr. Laurence Robertson
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his Department's policy is towards the objectives of the Asia Europe Child Welfare Initiative; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Michael
The objective of the ASEM child welfare initiative is to develop practical co-operation between Asia and Europe in the fight against commercial sexual exploitation of children through the exchange of ideas and846W information and the promotion of models of good practice. The initiative is led by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, with the full support and participation of the Home Office, the police, the Department of Health and other Government Departments, as well as the non-governmental organisations concerned with children who have been closely involved.
The Government take the combating of the commercial sexual exploitation of children very seriously. This Government have implemented the Sex Offenders Act 1997, which both creates a requirement for sex offenders to register their names and addresses, and any changes to these, with the police, and enables crimes against children abroad to be prosecuted in this country. The United Kingdom police have carried out training courses for police and prosecutors in the Philippines, Thailand and Sri Lanka. Within the United Kingdom, the Government have undertaken to issue joint Home Office/Department of Health guidance to the police and social services on dealing with children in prostitution on an inter-agency basis with the intention of diverting them from prostitution.
The ASEM child welfare initiative is breaking new ground in seeking to develop practical responses to this most difficult problem. We regard it as making a valuable contribution to our own strategy to combat the sexual exploitation of children at home and abroad.