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Press releases archive


ECPAT UK teams with UK Border Force for Anti-Slavery Day

17 October 2014

ECPAT UK will help host heightened anti-trafficking activities at all five London Heathrow Airport terminals to mark the fourth Anti-Slavery Day (18 October) today and tomorrow.

Specialist anti-trafficking charities, including ECPAT UK, will team up with Border Force officials to raise awareness of human trafficking and support Heathrow staff and passengers to help keep vulnerable children and adults safe at UK airports.

According to ECPAT UK, many children and adults who have been trafficked pass through airports undetected by staff and border officials. Only last year, courts learned of the horrifying ordeal of a 10-year-old girl – profoundly deaf and non-verbal – who was imprisoned, raped and abused for 10 years after she was trafficked through Heathrow Airport on a false passport stating she was 20. The family of abusers were later convicted for their crimes – and only this week their victim, now an adult, won £100,000 compensation. 

This Saturday marks five years since the Prime Minister first introduced the Anti-Slavery Day Act 2010. During this time, awareness of the scale and complexity of the issues has grown, with this year’s United Kingdom Human Trafficking Centre’s report identifying nearly 3,000 potential victims of human trafficking and 602 child victims of trafficking in 2013 alone. However, most experts contend that the statistics are only indicative of a much wider problem in need of urgent action. 

ECPAT UK has campaigned vociferously alongside community organisations, legal experts and thousands of public supporters for the UK Government, including border officials, to radically alter policies on trafficking and child protection that have placed many victims of trafficking, particularly children, at further risk. The Government has made efforts in recent years to improve its approaches, including introducing a Modern Slavery Bill and a review of the National Referral Mechanism. Yet many campaigners remain committed to calling for improved protection measures for children and adult victims.

Bharti Patel, CEO, ECPAT UK, said: 

“Our airports are one of the true frontlines in our effort to prevent the trafficking and exploitation of children and adults. Anti-Slavery Day is an important opportunity for individuals, charities and public agencies to come together, learn and stand up to this horrific crime. We’re delighted to be working with leading human rights organisations and Border Force staff to ensure we take every opportunity to prevent trafficking at the initial point of entry into the UK.”

ECPAT UK, along with more than 80,000 supporters, is calling on the UK Government to introduce measures to protect children and help prevent trafficking.

If you would like to join our campaign to protect child victims of trafficking, you can sign our petition to the Home Secretary here

To support our work in ending child trafficking, please make a donation. Every donation, whatever size, will help us continue our work against this abuse. Please donate here

Press contact

Bharti Patel, CEO, ECPAT UK, 07402 113985

Chloe Setter, Head of Policy, Advocacy & Campaigns (Child Trafficking), ECPAT UK, 07474 679003


ECPAT UK is a leading children’s rights organisation campaign to prevent child trafficking and transnational child abuse, including the exploitation and abuse of children in tourism and online.

About Anti-Slavery Day 2014

The aim of Anti-Slavery Day is for people in the UK to acknowledge that, despite the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade more than 200 years ago, men, women and children continue to be victims of the modern-day slave trade. The day helps to raise awareness of the dangers of modern-day slavery, including human trafficking and exploitation, and encourages people to be proactive in the fight against it.

ECPAT UK believes that Anti-Slavery Day provides a great opportunity to shine a light on a largely hidden and brutal crime of human trafficking being committed against children in the UK and overseas today.

*Photo by James Cridland


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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