Trafficked child

Leading children’s charity demands support for trafficked children

By: Information Daily Staff Writer
Published: Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - 13:53 GMT Jump to Comments

UNICEF has called for the government to increase support for trafficked children, as demand grows for amendments to be made to the Modern Slavery Bill.

UNICEF UK has called for the proposed anti-slavery laws to be strengthened, as cross-party MPs and peers launch their report of recommendations to protect victims of trafficking.

New UNICEF UK research has revealed that 81 per cent of British adults agree that the coalition government should do more to protect trafficked children, after learning the extent of child trafficking in the UK.

More than three quarters (76 per cent) believe that giving trafficked children a legal guardian is the right thing to do.

“Child trafficking is a horrific yet largely hidden crime in the UK with our poll revealing that many people don’t realise the extent to which it’s happening here”, said Anita Tiessen, Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF UK.

Statistics show that at least 10 children are trafficked every week in the UK, with the charity warning that potentially thousands more trafficked children remain unidentified in the country.

These children face a lifetime of abuse, violence and exploitation, yet 91 per cent of Britons do not see the UK as a child trafficking ‘hotspot’.

In some cases, when trafficked children were identified, they remained vulnerable and separated from their families. Additionally, some believed they did not receive the protection they needed, subjected instead to “frightening interviews” with various authorities.

The government is introducing a new Modern Slavery Bill in the coming months which could provide an opportunity to protect these vulnerable children. UNICEF UK has stated it does not consider the current draft strong enough to keep children safe.

“UNICEF UK is calling on the UK government to ensure guardians are included in the Modern Slavery Bill, so that trafficked children are protected by law and have a chance to rebuild their lives”, Tiessen said.

“Guardians must be independent, established in law and given legal powers so that children get the support they need to stay safe”, she concluded.

UNICEF UK is calling on Theresa May to include legal guardians in the Modern Slavery Bill.

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