Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said:
'The announcement of harsh penalties for traffickers is an important step forward, coming as it does on Anti-Slavery Day. But for the fight against this brutal crime to be effective, the victims of trafficking must get the support they need to be kept safe.
'Too many trafficked children, who are subjected to a range of horrific abuse, such as domestic servitude and sexual exploitation, are not getting the protection they need to keep them safe from further exploitation and abuse, including being re-trafficked.
'To be truly effective in tackling trafficking, the government must make sure all unaccompanied children, including potential victims of trafficking , are treated first and foremost as children in need and are given a guardian to make sure their rights are protected. These children deserve to be kept safe so they can recover from the trauma they have suffered and rebuild their lives.'
For more information, please contact The Children’s Society media team on 020 7841 4422 or 07775 812 357 or by email. For out-of-hours enquiries please call 07810 796 508.
Notes to editors
- The UK Human Trafficking Centre’s annual assessment of the scale of trafficking reports that a total of 2,255 potential victims of human trafficking were identified in 2012 in the UK. Of these, 549 - or 24% - were children and the age of 99 potential victims was unknown. But this figure is likely to be the tip of the iceberg given that many child victims will not come to the attention of agencies that can help them. Even where they do, they may not be correctly identified as victims of a crime. The assessment highlights that 65% of the total number of potential victims of trafficking appears not to have been recorded on the National Referral Mechanism – the government’s central system for identifying victims of trafficking.
- To find out more about the need for more effective support for trafficked children see Still at Risk: A review of support for trafficked children
- The Children’s Society wants to create a society where children and young people are valued, respected and happy. We are committed to helping vulnerable and disadvantaged young people, including children in care and young runaways. We give a voice to disabled children, help young refugees to rebuild their lives and provide relief for young carers. Through our campaigns and research, we seek to influence policy and perceptions so that young people have a better chance in life. Someone who acts on their behalf and can help guide them through the extremely complex system. These children deserve to be kept safe so they can recover from the trauma they have suffered and rebuild their lives.