Child Trafficking Advice Issued

Professionals working with children in Wales are to be issued with guidance on how to pick up on child trafficking. Figures suggest more than 300 children have been trafficked into the UK since 2004, ending up in, among other things, prostitution and forced labour.

The Welsh Assembly Government says such children are increasingly being brought into Wales by ferry from Ireland. NSPCC Wales said further measures were needed to “assist the special needs of child victims of trafficking”. The draft guidance is to outline the methods used by traffickers, the possible clues that a child may have been trafficked and the roles and functions of the different agencies responsible for caring for and protecting children.

The assembly government said children were often trafficked through several countries before arriving in the UK, with an increasing trend for children to arrive via smaller airports or in Wales by ferry from Ireland. The advice is to suggest that trafficked youngsters may be unable to confirm the name and address of the person meeting them on arrival, they may not be enrolled in school or they may go missing for periods of time.

The guidance, published on Tuesday, is intended for professionals in children’s social services, education, immigration, health and law enforcement.

Deputy Health Minister Gwenda Thomas said: “Child trafficking is an appalling crime and nothing less than modern day slavery where victims are coerced, deceived or forced into the control of others who seek to profit from their exploitation and suffering.

“As more cases of child trafficking come to light, it is essential that all professionals who come into contact with children who may have been trafficked are fully aware of the background to this activity and know what procedures to follow to safeguard trafficked children.”

NSPCC Wales Director Greta Thomas said: “We are encouraged that the Welsh Assembly Government is taking action to address the need to safeguard children who may have been trafficked in Wales. We look forward to working with the Welsh Assembly Government around this issue and hope that the final guidance will address the wider measures needed to support and assist the special needs of child victims of trafficking.”