There is no national process for identifying and recording children who may have been trafficked who have gone missing in the UK, finds a new report published by ECPAT's ReACT project.
Evidence suggests that children are more likely to go missing when they are placed in hostels and B&Bs rather than in specialist foster care.
Written by expert children's rights lawyer Nadine Finch, with contributions from ATLEU, the report offers practical guidance for professionals and authorities to improve the care of children in the UK who may have been trafficked.
Other key findings include:
- Children who may have been trafficked benefit from legal practitioners who specialise in the representation of such children but the distribution of these services is not uniform across the UK and tends to be concentrated in Northern Ireland, Scotland, London and Manchester.
- The removal of a right to free legal aid for children who are not applying for asylum and
where a decision has not been reached that there are reasonable grounds to suspect that a
child had been trafficked, leaves children in a very vulnerable position
- Medical examinations are capable of estimating the maturity but not the chronological age of a child.
Read the full report here: Lighting the way: Steps that lawyers, legal guardians and child trafficking advocates in the UK can take to better identify and protect children who may have been trafficked