Anti Slavery Day 2017

Modern slavery exists in the UK and destroys lives of men, women and children, UK nationals and those from abroad, who are exploited and subjected to a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment.

On Wednesday 18 October, Anti-Slavery Day 2017, ECPAT UK (Every Child Protected Against Trafficking) have released an animation to raise awareness of children trafficked for cannabis cultivation: 

Child trafficking is the movement of a child or children for the purpose of exploitation. It is a criminal offence under Modern Slavery legislation. Children can be trafficked into and out of the UK, and within the UK itself. They may be trafficked by parents, extended family members, known adults from a child’s community or by strangers. Trafficking often involves organised international networks of criminal gangs.

Child trafficking is child abuse. It requires a child protection response and multi-agency working, irrespective of the child’s immigration status or whether they have engaged in criminal activity. Children can be exploited through:

  • sexual exploitation
  • criminal activity (e.g. cannabis cultivation, street crime, moving drugs, benefit fraud, immigration fraud)
  • Begging or pick pocketing or other forms of petty criminal activity;
  • domestic servitude
  • labour exploitation (e.g. restaurants, nail bars, agricultural work, factories)
  • illegal adoption
  • forced marriage
  • unreported private fostering arrangements

Children may be trafficked from a number of different countries for a variety of different reasons. Factors which can make children vulnerable to trafficking are varied and include such things as poverty, lack of education, discrimination and disadvantage, political conflict and economic transition, inadequate local laws and regulations.

In order to recruit children, a variety of coercive methods are used such as abduction or kidnapping as well as more subversive ways such as the promise of education, respectable employment or a better life. It has been suggested that children have been brought in via internet transactions, foster arrangements and contracts as domestic staff, or been tricked into a bogus marriage for the purpose of forcing them into prostitution.

Many children travel to the UK on false documents. The creation of a false identity for a child can give a trafficker direct control over every aspect of the child’s life. Even before they travel to the UK children may be subject to various forms of abuse and exploitation to ensure that the trafficker’s control over the child continues after the child is transferred to someone else’s care.

There is increasing evidence that children of both UK and other citizenship are being trafficked internally within the UK for very similar reasons to those outlined above. There is evidence of teenage girls born in the UK being targeted for internal trafficking between towns and cities for sexual exploitation

For information on identifying children who may have been trafficked, and responding please see the Pan Sussex Safeguarding Procedures. Modern Slavery is also a focus of our training on Hidden Children: Working with Invisible Families

Supporting children & young people

Trafficked children are victims of serious crime and this will impact on their health and welfare. In order to coerce and control, they are commonly subject to physical abuse including use of drugs and alcohol, emotional and psychological abuse, sexual abuse and neglect as a result of a lack of care about their welfare and the need for secrecy surrounding their circumstances.

The NSPCC’s Child Trafficking Advice Centre (CTAC) have produced a range of leaflets for professionals working with children who have been trafficked: , as well as a leaflet to explain terms to children:

If you are concerned that a child has been trafficked or is being exploited please contact the Front Door for Families on 01273 290400.

If the child is in immediate danger call 999.