Office move

We have relocated! Our new office address is: 

Thomas Clarkson House
The Stable Yard
Broomgrove Road
SW9 9TL 

Please note we are currently experiencing technical difficulties with our phone systems. If you have an urgent enquiry, please call 07402 113985


Working against child trafficking

In 2004, ECPAT UK produced groundbreaking research on the trafficking of children into the UK. An on-going programme of research, training and advocacy informs our campaigning efforts. ECPAT UK has been instrumental in raising awareness in government of the plight of children trafficked into the UK for both sexual exploitation and for exploitative labour. There are still many gaps in policy and practice that need urgent attention.


  • 2.45 million people are victims of trafficking annually, of which 50% are children (ILO, 2005).
  • Trafficking is worth an estimated US$32 billion each year (ILO, 2005).
  • In 2012, the United Kingdom Human Trafficking Centre (UKHTC) identified 549 potential child victims of trafficking in the UK (2,225 in total). 
  • Frank Field MP, government-appointed chair of the Modern Slavery Bill Evidence Review, estimated that there are roughly 10,000 victims of modern slavery in the UK (BBC, 2013)
  • ECPAT UK found a total of 35 child trafficking cases in 17 London boroughs in 2003. In addition, 32 out of 33 London boroughs expressed concerns about trafficked children in their care (ECPAT UK, 2004).
  • In 2001, West Sussex Social Services reported that 66 children had gone missing from its care since 1995. Evidence suggests they were further trafficked by the people who initially brought them into the country (ECPAT UK, 2004).
  • UNICEF reported there were 250 child trafficking cases in the UK between 1998 and 2003 (UNICEF UK, 2003).

Trafficking children into the UK

Trafficking in persons - the recruitment, transport, or sale of human beings into sexual exploitation, forced labour and servitude - is a human rights abuse and an issue of global concern. A myriad of complex factors make children particularly vulnerable to trafficking, and these include violent and dysfunctional families, poverty, gender inequality, demand for cheap labour, growth of technology and exploitation of children in tourism, political and economic instability in countries of origin and the promise of a better future abroad.

Although there is no consistent pattern on the routes or the nationalities involved, ECPAT UK's research shows that children, mostly girls, are being trafficked into the UK from Africa, Eastern Europe and South East Asia for purposes of domestic servitude, sexual exploitation and involvement in illegal activities. Once trafficked, these children are often controlled through violence, being deprived of their freedom of movement, having to repay heavy debts to their traffickers and a deep-seated fear of authority instilled by their traffickers. These factors and the trauma of being trafficked make it difficult for children to escape, seek help or to feel safe enough to talk about their experiences.

ECPAT UK is campaigning against this modern day form of slavery and is calling on all relevant agencies to coordinate action on child protection and the prevention of trafficking, and not just focus on law enforcement measures. ECPAT UK is also calling on the UK Government to monitor and document trafficking cases and establish effective support and protection services for trafficked children.


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.


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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,…