Study recommends single body is established to tackle child trafficking in Scotland

A single agency should be established in Scotland to monitor child trafficking, according to a new report.

The University of Stirling study was commissioned by the Scottish Government and sets out recommendations to help identify and protect child victims.

It found the majority of victims came from Vietnam and the prevalence of the problem in Scotland appears to be lower than in the rest of the UK.

The academics analysed case files over a one-year period and interviewed young people identified as victims.

Among the recommendations in the Child Trafficking in Scotland report is for a single body to be set up to “collate information and to monitor prevalence and patterns” relating to exploited children.

The majority of potential victims identified by Government bodies are non-UK nationals, it found.

But it said greater attention is needed to identify and support UK children who may be victims of trafficking.

Paul Rigby, who led the research, said victims also face additional trauma due to systems and processes endured on arrival in Scotland.

These include “long periods of not knowing what would happen to them as they waited on asylum decisions”, he said.

Mr Rigby added: “Despite the complexities, support for children and young people is apparent across agencies and is appreciated by young people.”

Maree Todd (pictured), the minister for children and young people, said: “Child trafficking has a devastating impact on children and young people, which is why both tackling the root causes and supporting victims to recover are key priorities for the Scottish Government.

“The Scottish Government and members of the child trafficking strategy group are working together to take forward the recommendations in the report.

“A key part of the trafficking and exploitation strategy is the development of an independent child trafficking guardianship service to ensure children and young people, whom no-one in the UK holds parental responsibilities for and who have been trafficked or at risk of being trafficked, are given additional support and care.

“The new service will put the role of the guardian on statutory footing with other support services and will be a national service across Scotland.”

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