Child victims of human trafficking are some of the most vulnerable children in the country

Young refugee male standing under underpass

Trafficked children may be at risk of returning to their traffickers and of further exploitation for sex, forced labour, domestic servitude or criminal activities. They may have experienced emotional trauma in their country of birth, in their journey to the UK or through their treatment by adults in the UK. They are likely to be uncertain or unaware of who to trust and of their rights. They may be unaware of their right to have a childhood.

What support is needed?

The local authority providing for their care has a duty to protect and support these highly vulnerable children. Because of the circumstances they have faced, trafficked children often have complex needs in addition to those faced by looked after children more generally. The special support required to address these needs must begin as soon as the child becomes looked after by the local authority. This support will be most effective when provided through a stable, continuous relationship with the child.


The Department for Education and Home Office in 2011 published the practice guidance on ‘Safeguarding children who may have been trafficked’

The Department for Education has also set out guidance for local authorities to help them plan for the provision of support needed for looked after children who are unaccompanied asylum seeking children and child victims of trafficking.