Help trafficked children in the UK -

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.

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14 Comments on "Help trafficked children in the UK"

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Dave Voisey

Once these victims are identified we must insure that the Home Office treats them with sympathy as victims and not as illegal immigrants This has often happened in the past.

Apostle Anthony Quarshie
Apostle Anthony Quarshie

I am urging the Home Secretary in Britian to do everything possible to find these trafficked children, who have lost their family and identity, to offer them support up to Tertiary Education to gain gainful employment to be independent to be able to raise their family.


o homem o mais cruel dos animais. joana portugal

Edith Orwat

Cruelty to humans and cruelty to animals go hand in hand. Both are on the increase because leniency in either is only encouraging the criminals that it is OK in the eyes of the law. Harsher sentences in either will curb those who are still contemplating whether the consequences of their action will hurt themselves more than the gain they can achieve. Enforcing the law is the only way to protect, minimize, and stop such criminal activities.

Alison Peace

Poverty and cruelty affect us. Does everyone always think of the consequences of their actions? I have made serious mistakes in life myself. Was there a supportive community as they grew up? Were they desperately poor, or lacking in adult guidance as children? Are victims desperately poor, lacking in adult guidance? Do the adults who want to care for them lack the most basic things in life, water, food, a roof over their head, education and skills to better themselves and their children?

Kravetz Pascal

If I was in front of one of that case , I’ll do my own justice for sure



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Dear Home Secretary, Amber Rudd 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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ECPAT UK is the UK national representative of ECPAT International, a global network of 80 children's rights organisations in 74 countries. Since 1994, ECPAT UK's targeted and focused campaigns and activities have been successful in improving child protection, including the introduction of new UK legislation and the ratification of relevant international conventions, and in raising awareness about child trafficking, exploitation and the abuse of children by British sex offenders at home and abroad.

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