FOREIGN embassy staff enjoying diplomatic immunity have been accused of a string of offences including child pornography and human trafficking.
Foreign Office figures released yesterday listed 11 “serious and significant” offences allegedly committed by diplomats and embassy staff who are exempt from criminal prosecutions.
The alleged offences include a claim that an unnamed person at the Mexican embassy forced a child aged 13 to 15 to watch or look at an image of sexual activity.
A member of staff at the same embassy is accused of taking an indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph of a child and using threatening or abusive or insulting words or behaviour to cause harassment or alarm or distress.
The figures, contained in a written statement by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, also suggest that a member of the Saudi Arabian embassy is alleged to have committed the offence of human trafficking for the purposes of exploitation, specifically domestic servitude.
A member of the Saudi embassy is also said to have committed the offence of human trafficking for slavery or servitude or forced or compulsory labour.
Britain has been strongly criticised for its refusal to back international anti-slavery efforts, claiming that our own protocols are sufficient.
In June 2011, Britain was one of only nine countries that did not vote in favour of the International Labour Organisation Domestic Workers Convention.
Anti-Slavery International director Aidan McQuade said trafficking and forced labour by diplomatic staff has been “a serious issue for many years” and that the organisation had supported “several cases of domestic workers severely exploited in diplomatic households.”
He said: “It is absolutely unacceptable that diplomats who traffic domestic workers or children for sexual exploitation in the UK, continue to be shielded from prosecution and are given a free licence to exploit people by the British government.”
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: “Diplomatic immunity should not provide a ‘get out of jail’ card for those perpetrating such serious crimes.
“The Foreign and Commonwealth Office must clarify whether these people have been prosecuted, whether their diplomatic immunity is still in place and what their current status is.”