The international crime of human trafficking is a growing problem. Its goal is exploiting human beings for profit – and children are increasingly vulnerable.
In 2012, 1,186 potential victims were assigned to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) - of these, 786 were females, 400 males; 815 adults and 371 children. However, due to the hidden nature of the problem, it is difficult to pinpoint the exact numbers involved.
The Inter-Departmental Ministerial Group (IDMG), which is responsible for overseeing and assessing the UK's efforts on tacking trafficking, has published its second report on government strategy.
Along with calling for international action to stop trafficking, stronger border controls and tougher law enforcement for criminal gangs, it promises that the protection of child victims is a priority. This includes:
•Children's charities NSPCC and Barndado's joining the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), a framework for identifying and supporting trafficking victims, so they can get the help they need. The NRM makes it easier for various agencies, including the police and local authorities, to cooperate and share vital information.
•Updating government guidance on young victims. This will ensure that practitioners are fully equipped with current information for safeguarding purposes.
•Tackling the issue of trafficked children who go missing from local authority care in England and Wales,
•Promoting the child trafficking toolkit, developed by the London Safeguarding Children Board, to help local authorities identify trafficked children early enough
•Work with the police and criminal justice system to ensure that child victims involved in criminal activity are dealt with from a child safeguarding perspective, and not unnecessarily criminalised.
•Raising awareness in source countries of the risk of child trafficking.
You can read the full report at www.gov.uk/government/publications/human-trafficking-strategy