Anti-Trafficking Commissioner campaign

Three Small Steps logo
As part of its Three Small Steps campaign to protect child victims of trafficking, ECPAT UK is calling for the appointment of an independent Anti-Trafficking Commissioner....

The UK Government should establish an independent mechanism that ensures the systematic collection, monitoring and analysis of comprehensive and disaggregated data, and accountability to Parliament. This mechanism should perform the functions of an independent National Rapporteur on Human Trafficking, with a specific focus on children.

Briefing: An independent Anti-Trafficking Commissioner

Both the 2005 Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings and the 2011 EU Directive on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims call on Member States to appoint national rapporteurs or equivalent mechanisms to assess trends in human trafficking, monitor and measure the anti-trafficking activities of State institutions, gather statistics and report on their findings.

In establishing an Anti-Traficking Commissioner, to fulfil the function of an independent national rapporteur in the UK, the following factors must be considered.

1. An Anti-Trafficking Commissioner has to be independent of government to be fully effective. The success of the National Rapporteur in the Netherlands is attributable to the post’s independence from the Dutch Government, which enables the post holder to objectively analyse emerging trends in human trafficking and the effectiveness of the polices implemented to tackle them. By creating this robust tool to provide feedback on Government policy, the Dutch Government has demonstrated its determination to achieve tangible results in tackling human trafficking.

2. An Anti-Trafficking Commissioner in the UK would help address the current lack of reliable information on the scale and nature of trafficking into and within the country. In relation to children, the collection of sufficient and reliable data on child victims of trafficking is vital to understanding how to protect them. An independent Commissioner with a remit to gather quantitative and qualitative data from a range of sources would help to fill the significant knowledge gaps that currently hinder the fight against human trafficking. 

3. An independent Anti-Trafficking Commissioner is necessary to ensure that the Government’s progress in implementing anti-trafficking measures is objectively assessed, to identify problems and to inform all policy development on human trafficking. Since 2000, the Dutch National Rapporteur has made over 200 recommendations to the Dutch Government on subjects including legislation, immigration policy, the identification of and help for victims, the prosecution and trial of offenders, international cooperation and prevention. Many of these recommendations have been adopted by the Dutch Government and have led to significant improvements in policy.

The Government's position
The Government currently believes that the existing Inter-Departmental Ministerial Group on Human Trafficking (IDMG) fulfils the role of a national rapporteur.

On 8 February 2012, during a debate in Westminster, the Minister for Immigration said a national rapporteur would be a "fifth wheel on a coach", but stated his intention to make some improvements to the IDMG. While these are to be welcomed, they still will not make the IDMG compatible with the role of a national rapporteur. 

The IDMG is made up largely of Government ministers and assists in co-ordinating and implementing Government policy on human trafficking. Therefore ECPAT UK believes it cannot objectively monitor and analyse the Government’s work to combat trafficking. Furthermore, the IDMG does not collect statistics or produce reports, only meets twice a year and is not well attended.


Copyright © ECPAT UK 2015.

Charity number: 1104948. Company Ltd by Guarantee: 5061385.
4A Chillingworth Road, London N7 8QJ. 
Tel: 020 7607 2136. Fax: 020 7700 5435.


Want to learn more about ECPAT UK and the work we do? Sign up to our regular e-news bulletin:


ECPAT UK is the leading expert voice on child trafficking in the UK and we offer a comprehensive training programme focused on safeguarding young people from trafficking, modern slavery, and transnational abuse. To find out more visit our training page

Latest updates

Governments must make good global promises on child labour

12th June 2017

ECPAT UK is calling on governments across the world to honour the commitment to eradicate child labour on global World Day Against Child Labour (12th June).

On this global…

Mayor of London prioritises anti-trafficking efforts

3 May 2017

The Mayor and Deputy Mayor for Policing & Crime have answered calls from NGOs to outline their plans to strengthen London’s response to human trafficking, after a staggering…

Record number of UK child trafficking cases reported in 2016

3 April 2017

Child trafficking referrals increased by 30% to 1,278 in 2016, the highest on record according to the latest figures from the National Crime Agency. 

The National…

New ECPAT UK project: Local authorities supported to innovate child trafficking responses

31 March 2017

ECPAT UK has been selected by the government to deliver an innovative project aimed at improving the local response to child trafficking and all forms of modern slavery and exploitation.

#LostinMigration exposes desperate circumstances for lone migrant children in Europe

1 March 2017

An influential coalition of children’s’ rights charities, including ECPAT UK, have today called on EU and national ministers to end the disappearance, suffering…

British child abuser guilty of 45 crimes against Thai and UK children

01 February 2017

Serial child abuser, and retired English teacher, Mark Frost, formerly Andrew Tracey, has pleaded guilty to 45 counts of rape and sexual assault of children in the UK and Thailand,…