Several children trafficked into the UK are subsequently going missing from local authority care according to a Council of Europe report.

The report suggests that increasing numbers of people are being brought into the UK for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labour with a lack of suitable local authority or foster carers often meaning they rejoin those who exploited them in the first place.

Council of Europe's Greta (Group of Experts on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings) estimate hundreds of people have been identified as victims of trafficking in the UK but only 56 people were convicted of human trafficking in 2009 and 29 the following year.

Based on the findings of Greata, children's charity NSPCC's Child Trafficking Advice Centre (CTAC) has produced a new resource aimed at helping health visitors who have concerns that a child has been trafficked.

The resource entitled Stop Child Trafficking in its Tracks- advice for health visitors looks at situations in which health visitors may come across trafficked children, signs that may indicate there is a risk a child has been trafficked, and gives advice on how to respond to concerns.

Head of CTAC, Mandy John-Baptiste said: "Health visitors making home visits are in a key position to identify and take action to protect trafficked children and young people.

"However, we know that recognising these children can be difficult given the huge variety of situations that they may be living in and how adept traffickers are at covering their tracks. The resource gives guidance to help health visitors recognise signs that indicate that a child or young person may be a victim of trafficking and provides advice on the child protection response they can take if they have concerns."

In its report, Greta identifited inconsistent approaches in different areas and a significant intelligence gap on trafficking, saying the levels of trust and co-operation between victim support services and law enforcement agencies need to be improved.

CTAC was set up to improve these intelligence flows as a specialist service offering advice and information to professionals who come into contact with children who may have been trafficked.

In addition to its latest resource for health visitors, CTAC has also produced advice leaflets for social workers and A&E department and walk-in clinic staff.

Professionals can contact CTAC for advice, to book free awareness-raising presentations or to order free leaflets by calling 0808 800 5000 or emailing help@nspcc.org.uk. For further information about the service, or to download the leaflet, go to www.nspcc.org.uk/ctac

Posted 12/09/2012 by richard.hook@pavpub.com