Baroness Cox on Terrorism and Sexual Violence

8 November 2017

Last week, Baroness Cox took put forward oral questions in the House of Lords about the use of sexual violence as a terrorism tactic around the world. You can see the full debate here.

Baroness Cox

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their response to the recommendation of the Henry Jackson Society’s report Trafficking Terror that an International Legal Task Force should be established to gather evidence on sexual violence as a tactic of terrorism.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon) (Con)

My Lords, we condemn the use of sexual violence by terrorist organisations and are committed to holding perpetrators to account. UK law enforcement agencies are already assessing the threat posed by terrorism and human trafficking globally with our multilateral and bilateral partners. Our team of experts is also supporting efforts to gather evidence of sexual violence in conflict. The report makes a number of valid points and we will give them due consideration.

Baroness Cox

I thank the Minister for his sympathetic reply. Is he aware of the scale of money flowing from modern slavery to terrorist organisations such as Islamic State and Boko Haram? According to the report, from just 16 victims taken hostage, Islamic State gained between £98,000 and £198,000 from ransom payments. Slavery is also used to provide a plethora of non-monetary incentives to attract and reward terrorist fighters. Will Her Majesty’s Government consider the broader implications of laws, including the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and the Terrorism Act 2016, to reflect adequately the spectrum of crimes committed by individuals using sexual slavery and violence as a tactic of terrorism?

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon) (Con)

I assure the noble Baroness that we not only condemn it but act on that. She will be aware of our action at the highest level at the UN Security Council with the passing of Resolution 2331, which addresses the nexus between human trafficking, sexual violence and terrorism. More recently, as I have said to the House, in September this year at the UN Security Council we passed a resolution specifically to set up an investigative team to gather greater evidence on sexual violence and crimes committed by Daesh in Iraq. That demonstrates the action we are taking at an international level to ensure that we tackle this head on.


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