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"Still at Risk" research finds that more needs to be done to safeguard trafficked childre

Research carried out by The Children’s Society and Refugee Council ,“Still at Risk”, found victims of child trafficking are still being inadequately protected, leaving them at risk of going missing from care or experiencing further abuse and exploitation.

The charities interviewed 17 young victims of trafficking about their experiences of social services and other agencies for the report. Only a few of the 17 said they had had a positive experience with social workers with one saying that their key worker seemed to want to avoid being seen with her in public. The report found that local authorities lack appropriate accommodation for victims whose age is unknown and  lack knowledge and understanding of the challenges trafficked children face, a gap that leads to inconsistency in the support they receive.

The report says more should be done to ensure that statutory and practice guidelines are followed by all agencies. It also proposes the creation of a national system of support that would allow children to be moved to another area if they remain under threat from their traffickers.

Overall, the report suggests, some ways in which the support provided for children who have been trafficked can be improved are to:

• increase understanding of child trafficking and the statutory responsibilities to safeguard all children, regardless of their immigration status, nationality or documentation  through raising awareness, and increased training, particularly of those in statutory agencies working with potential victims of trafficking;

• ensure all agencies implement all statutory and practice guidance for safeguarding trafficked children and separated children more widely;

• implement national responses to all potential victims of child trafficking – ensure there are sufficient, appropriate options for good quality accommodation and care to ensure all children have a full-time carer and are kept safe;

• establish a system of protection that includes an independent trusted adult appointed to a separated child as soon as they come to an authority’s attention.

The Still At Risk report is available on: http://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/

Thurs 12th Sept 2013