Ask the Home Secretary to support 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.

  • 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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Douglas Anderson
Douglas Anderson
2 years ago

This isn’t a British problem alone, but a global one. Sex trafficking and modern slavery affect the poorest communities hardest often with family involvement. We need to find a way to put children back into schools, to uplift those in the direst of poverty, and to punish the traffickers.

Jeffrey M Goodman
Jeffrey M Goodman
2 years ago

What is worse than child slavery? As human beings anywhere in the world how can we allow this and do nothing when we know its happening? Please clear your conscience and step up.

2 years ago


Julie Taylor
2 years ago

All children should be given the support they need

ann harford
ann harford
2 years ago

i am ashamed to now find out this most serious crime against children happens in great Britain.we the country must protect our future.adverts must be put on tv where we can not ignore it

2 years ago
Reply to  ann harford

I think there is much to challenge in how the UK has dealt with so many people who have been thro terrible situations of abuse and torture. We need a govt with empathy and commitment to human rights as we do for the high levels of inequality in the UK which is dismissed by politicians in their greed for power. The Home Office has become a place of cruelty and abuse to those most in need!

Luigi Rosolin
Luigi Rosolin
2 years ago

Sexual abuse diffuse on line i Au was discuss today in parliament beacause the perpetrator had double they criminal abborent violence again children during the corona 19 pandemic. Sexual slavery and children’s abuse must be stopped, traffiching childrens is abomination!

Ask the Home Secretary to support trafficked children in the UK

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Read the Full Petition Text

Dear Home Secretary, Suella Braverman MP:

Trafficked and unaccompanied teenagers are just like other young people their age, with hopes and dreams for the future. While they may have experienced unimaginable trauma, they are resilient, resourceful and full of potential. Yet under the current system, they are often unable to recover, live stable lives and plan for their future. Following difficult journeys to the UK, unaccompanied children may be victims of trafficking, but this often goes undetected by the authorities as there is no one for them to confide in.

Young people who are recognized as victims often find this is not the end of their ordeal but the beginning of a new one. All young people should have the security to plan for their futures as they reach adulthood. Young people who have experienced serious trauma and abuse need even greater stability in order to recover and rebuild their lives. But the UK Government is currently denying these children their right to recovery and to live lives that meet their full potential.

We urge you to implement the following measures to ensure that child victims of trafficking are able to have stable futures:

  1. For the UK Government to expand the Independent Child Trafficking Guardian service in England and Wales to all unaccompanied children as well as those already identified as potentially trafficked.
  2. For the UK Government to establish a process to find a long-term, sustainable arrangement for each child victim of trafficking, including providing each child with an immigration decision that is based on their best interests.

If Britain is to continue being a global leader in ending modern slavery, it is vital that the rights of the youngest victims are prioritized.

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