Help trafficked children in the UK

“I was lost; my childhood was stolen. But no-one seemed to want to help me.” – Sophie*, 15, who was sexually exploited for two years

Thousands of children each year like Sophie* are identified as victims of modern slavery and trafficking in the UK. They come from more than a hundred countries, including from within the UK itself. These children are known to be in situations of sexual exploitation, forced labour, criminal exploitation and domestic servitude – and they are some of the most vulnerable in our society, with many being alone in the UK with no family.

Those suspected of being trafficked qualify for support under child protection laws in the UK. However, the level of this support provided is often severely lacking and hugely inconsistent – as highlighted recently in the BBC’s Three Girls documentary about sexual exploitation in Rochdale.

Right now, the Home Office is examining the process for identifying and supporting victims of trafficking. This is our chance to ensure they include adequate provisions for child victims in the UK in their recommendations. We need your help to make sure they listen.

Send an email now to the Home Secretary to demand guaranteed specialist support for trafficked children.

If it is serious about its promise to “defeat modern slavery“, the Government must overhaul the current system of identification and support for victims of trafficking – the National Referral Mechanism (NRM). The new system would have child rights at its heart and ensure nationality and immigration play no part in the identification of risk for children. It would take the form of a local, multi-agency ‘hub’, using trained, child protection actors with expertise in recognising and dealing with children at risk of trafficking and exploitation. Such a ‘hub’ could provide crucial intelligence locally and nationally, and would guarantee each child who has been a victim of modern slavery the specialist support they need.

*real name and image changed to protect her identity.

  • July 6, 2021: Proposed measures set out in the controversial Nationality and Borders Bill will seriously impact child trafficking survivors and hinder their recovery. Read more here.

  • COVID-19 Update: Our partners at ECPAT UK have warned that the coronavirus lockdown can be incredibly triggering to child victims of trafficking, for whom having limited freedom of movement brings back difficult memories of being under the control of their traffickers. Read more here.

  • February 2020: We’re continuing to call on the UK to give child victims of trafficking a chance to recover and rebuild their lives with our partners, ECPAT UK. Join us and take action today to demand stable futures for young victims.

  • July 17, 2019: Shocking new evidence shows child victims of trafficking in the UK have faced the threat of deportation to countries where they are at risk of being retrafficked and exploited. Read more on the story here.

  • October 18, 2018: On Anti-Slavery Day we joined our partner ECPAT UK on the steps of the Prime Minister’s Office in London to hand in over 120,000 signatures calling for guaranteed specialist support for child victims of trafficking in the UK. Thank you to everyone who added their name!

  • Jul 18, 2017: Campaign Launches

Chip in and help end modern slavery once and for all.

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Lesley P
Lesley P
4 years ago

As one who was assaulted once as a four year old who still suffers the consequences at 71, I beg you to strengthen all necessary help and services for those who need help just to live from day to day.

Ryan Armstrong
Ryan Armstrong
4 years ago

Slavery and trafficking should be stopped anyway but kids slavery and trafficking should never happen full stop! This needs to end now. The people that do this are disgusting uneducated idiots.

Gary E. Andrews
2 years ago

If these children aren’t safe no man, woman or child in the UK is safe. The government is impotent against sinister forces more powerful than it. You can strengthen the UK for the people.

A. Deha
A. Deha
2 years ago

This is the least i can do to help those children as human being. If i can’t/won’t do this than i’m not a human being.

Mary-Frances Scully
Mary-Frances Scully
3 years ago

Helping these vulnerable children requires excellent coordination of first-line agencies including banking and other financial institutions, the police, social service, schools, colleges, community groups and volunteers. Asking Prince Harry to lead this is a brilliant idea. The prince is charismatic, energetic and popular and I hope will really wish to help this vital cause.

ASK THE HOME SECRETARY TO SUPPORT TRAFFICKED CHILDREN IN THE UK

Help us reach 30,000 actions
29,016

Dear Home Secretary, Priti Patel MP,

Children suspected of being trafficked qualify for support under child protection laws in the UK. However, the level of this support provided is often severely lacking and hugely inconsistent.

Children who have suffered in situations of exploitation require high levels of dedicated and specialist support in order to meet their needs, help them to rebuild their lives and become young adults. This should include:

  • Multi-agency decision-making about trafficking identification
  • Immediate appointment of an independent legal guardian or advocate
  • Access to specialist accommodation placements (such as specialist foster care)
  • Quick and guaranteed access to specialist psychotherapy/counselling
  • Publicly funded lawyers who are trained in trafficking issues and law relating to children
  • A grant of leave that would ensure a durable solution (for those with immigration concerns)
  • Access to compensation
  • Guaranteed non-prosecution for crimes that were a direct result of any exploitation
  • A multi-agency assessment of re-trafficking risk and subsequent safety plan
  • Automatic special measures in all courts

There is currently no central funding available nationally for the specialist care of trafficked children who are instead supported by local authority children’s services.

We urge you to overhaul the current system of identification/support for victims of modern slavery. We want the Government to ensure the identification process is embedded within existing multi-agency child protection structures and to provide sufficient resources to allow local authority areas to deliver specialist care and support for some of the most vulnerable children in our society.

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