The trafficking of children is a global problem. Every year, 1.2 million children are victims of trafficking. Children are secretly transported across borders and sold like commodities or trafficked within countries for the sole purpose of exploitation. Child trafficking is a crime that violates the basic rights of children, a crime which can – and does – destroy young lives. The UK is a significant transit and destination country for trafficked children. The majority of children trafficked into the UK begin their journey in East Asia (China, Viet Nam) or Africa. In 2007, the UK Government announced that 330 child victims of trafficking had been identified over an 18-month period; of these 183 went missing from social services care Child trafficking is largely a hidden crime, so the true number of children trafficked into the UK is likely to be much larger. No one knows the actual number of children who have been trafficked into the UK, some destined to work in the sex industry, as domestic servants and in sweatshops. Even if trafficked children are identified, their care and protection is inconsistent, ad hoc and, in some regions, completely absent. The development of counter-trafficking policy and procedures is largely in its infancy in the UK. However, in recent years, the UK Government has taken significant steps to improve its response to tackling human trafficking. We welcome these steps, in particular the commitment to develop “a victim-centred, human rightsbased approach to tackling human trafficking”.* While progress has been made, much more remains to be done. This report identifies the gaps and inconsistencies in current legislation and Government guidance, and proposes solutions that place children’s rights at the centre of the UK approach to safeguarding child victims of trafficking
Read more here.
Every Child Protected Against Trafficking (ECPAT UK) is a leading children’s rights organisation working to protect children from trafficking and transnational exploitation.