Children in care 'go missing', warn trafficking experts

 

John Fahey
Wednesday 12 September 2012 08:34

More needs to be done to raise awareness about Britons being trafficked abroad with special emphasis on trafficking in children, according to European experts.

The claim is made by GRETA (Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings) in a report on how well British authorities have implemented the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking.

The report is the first assessment of how well the nation has responded to signing up to agreements in 2007 with a British strategy covering the period 2011 to 2015.

GRETA said it welcomed "the awareness-raising measures already taken" and noted "that the measures to discourage demand have so far focused on sexual exploitation".

But it called for more work to be done to stop people being trafficked for slavery.

The experts said they were concerned by reports that "a significant number" of children in care go missing.

More needs to be done to identify child trafficking victims, the group said, and to ensure all unaccompanied minors who are potential victims of trafficking are assigned a legal guardian and are provided with suitable safe accommodation and adequately trained supervisors or foster parents.

Responding to reports that potential trafficking victims are detained in immigration detention centres, police cells or prisons, the authors set out steps to help officials establish if someone has been trafficked.

GRETA applauded the authorities for securing funding to deal with the issue during straitened times but called for more help supporting people with their recovery, employment and education.

The study identified British devolution as a problem with different legal and institutional approaches to human trafficking.

GRETA said the authorities should consider "the consequences of having numerous pieces of legislation".

The experts also called for the authorities to "step up their efforts to adopt a victim-centred approach" and that potential trafficking victims should not be punished for immigration-related offences.

Klara Skrivankova, Anti-Slavery International's anti-trafficking programme co-ordinator, said: "GRETA's report has recognised many of the concerns raised by NGOs(non-governmental organisations) over the past three years, in particular warnings that victims of trafficking are being prosecuted for offences committed as a consequence of being trafficked.

"Anti-Slavery International supports recommendations to review the current focus on immigration that can sometimes preclude preventing trafficking victims from being properly identified and protected.

"We echo the concern that the system introduced to identify and protect those trafficked, known as national referral mechanism, currently seems to favour victims from within the EU over those outside of the EU, despite the requirement to treat all victims of trafficking equally.

"We also support GRETA's recommendation that the British authorities adopt measures to guarantee access to compensation for victims of trafficking.

"Not only is the current lack of compensation preventing many trafficked people from rebuilding their lives and gaining a sense of justice, but it also means that we are losing the battle with the criminals."

PA

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in