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Press releases archive


ECPAT UK calls on the UK Government to opt in to EU Trafficking Directive

The approval of the EU Directive on Trafficking by the European Parliament (14/12/10) has been welcomed by ECPAT UK who campaign to improve protection for children who have been trafficked. The Directive specifically makes provision for trafficked children to be provided with a guardian or special representative, echoing ECPAT UK’s current campaign which calls on the UK Government to introduce a system of guardianship.

ECPAT UK recognises the Directive as a significant step forward in the fight against human trafficking and urges the UK government to opt in as soon as possible. The UK and Denmark are now the only EU Member States not to have opted in to the Directive which improves existing EU legislation and provides better protection for trafficking victims, more rigorous prevention measures and tougher penalties for traffickers.

Christine Beddoe, ECPAT UK Director commented, “We are extremely disappointed by the UK’s failure to opt in to this important law to combat trafficking. The Directive has a specific focus on child victims and provides them with greater care and protection, directly supporting our campaign call for the UK to introduce a system of guardianship for trafficked children. We don’t understand why the UK is dragging its heels and denying trafficked children improved support and protection, and we urge the government to opt in at the earliest possible opportunity.”

14th December 2010


Notes to Editors:

A system of guardianship means that all child victims of trafficking would:

  • have someone with parental responsibility to care for and support them

  • be prevented from facing further exploitation and harm from their traffickers

  • receive the educational, medical, practical and legal support they need to help rebuild their lives

After endorsement by the EU Parliament, the EU Directive on preventing and combating Trafficking in Human Beings and protecting victims is legally binding for EU Member States, requiring them to harmonize their laws with the provisions of the Directive within a two year period. Should this process not be carried out within the deadline, the European Commission can take legal action against Member States who have not fulfilled their obligations before the European Court of Justice.

Article 14 of the Directive makes provision for children to be provided with a guardian, or special representative provided by the courts, whilst their case is being investigated
“Article 14 - Protection of child victims of trafficking in human beings in criminal investigations and proceedings - Member States shall take the necessary measures to ensure that in criminal investigations and proceedings, judicial authorities appoint a special representative for the child victim of trafficking in human beings where, by national law, the holders of parental responsibility are precluded from representing the child as a result of a conflict of interest between them and the child victim, or where the child is unaccompanied or separated from the family.”


Copyright © ECPAT UK 2015.

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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

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