ECPAT UK and The Children’s Society have come together to deliver the project, which will support boys and young men who have been trafficked to the UK for reasons including sexual exploitation, forced labour or criminal exploitation.
Five hundred and forty nine children were identified as potential victims of human trafficking in 2012, a 12% increase on the previous year, according to the UK Human Trafficking Centre. More than a third of the children identified (38%) were boys.
Given the hidden nature of trafficking and that many child victims will not be identified, experts believe this is likely to be just the tip of the iceberg.
The launch comes ahead of European Anti-Trafficking Day on Friday 18th October and days after a report by London Assembly Member Andrew Boff revealed that a fifth of trafficked victims identified in London are men.
Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said:
“These children and young men have been controlled through violence, fear, imprisonment or debts. Many will have been through horrific ordeals, and it is incredibly important that they have someone who they can trust to support them to recover from the abuse.
“By sharing our expertise with ECPAT, we will be better placed to identify victims, raise awareness and help these young men and boys to rebuild their lives.”
Bharti Patel, Chief Executive of ECPAT UK, said:
“Boys and young men are increasingly being identified as vulnerable and at high risk of being trafficked to the UK for sexual exploitation, forced criminality, domestic servitude and forced labour.
“Support to all child victims of trafficking – both boys and girls – is vital for their recovery from the traumatic experiences resulting from gross abuse and multiple violations of their rights as children. This new partnership with The Children’s Society will help us understand the needs of boys and be in a better position to protect more boys in the future.”
For more information, please call The Children’s Society media team on 020 7841 4423 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For out-of-hours enquiries please call 07810 796 508.
Notes to editors
• All statistics are from the UK Human Trafficking Centre and Serious Organised Crime Agency report ‘A Strategic Assessment on the Nature and Scale of Human Trafficking’
• 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.
• ECPAT UK is a leading children’s rights charity working on the issues of child exploitation and child trafficking. It is active in campaigning and lobbying Government, producing research, training frontline professionals, and working with young victims of trafficking.
• The ECPAT UK Youth Group is a peer support group of young women and girls who are victims of trafficking. The group meet on a weekly basis to support each other, gain valuable life skills and develop participatory projects which reflect on the UK response to child trafficking. Last year the ECPAT UK Youth Group won The Children’s and Young Peoples award for their work. http://www.ecpat.org.uk/media/ecpat-uk-youth-group-wins-coveted-youth-wo...
• The Children’s Society and the Refugee Council last month published a review of support available for trafficked children.