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Press releases archive


Gaps in data hindering child trafficking fight

Improved child trafficking data systems under Anti-Trafficking Commissioner would lead to more effective interventions

29 November 2013

Our understanding of child trafficking must be improvedThe UK must immediately introduce an independent Anti-Trafficking Commissioner to improve Government responses weakened by a lack of data on child trafficking, ECPAT UK said in its latest evidence submission to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery. 

A comprehensive and ongoing audit of UK responses to child trafficking must also be undertaken to prevent further escalation of the issues and protect vulnerable children.

Many separated children who are trafficked continue to be failed by the systems designed to protect them, despite the existence of key policies and legislation to protect the rights of all children in the UK, regardless of their immigration status or country of origin. 

According to ECPAT UK, an Anti-Trafficking Commissioner would play a central role in assessing the effectiveness of these Government interventions, helping to inform improved responses to child trafficking. 

The fight against human trafficking is further inhibited by a lack of reliable and representative data and information on the scale and nature of this phenomenon. It is therefore vital that an Anti-Trafficking Commissioner, responsible for gathering, storing and evaluating information on the issue, is introduced.    

The successful implementation of an independent commissioner, or national rapporteur, in the Netherlands and Finland has demonstrated that the collection of sufficient and reliable data on child victims of trafficking is vital to understanding how to protect them. 

In her closing comments, Chloe Setter, Head of Advocacy, Policy and Campaigns, ECPAT UK, said: "Victims of trafficking are victims of child abuse and are victims/witnesses to a serious crime. It is this experience of exploitation and the impact of abuse that should concern UK authorities, ahead of all other issues. Therefore, the Government must dramatically improve its data collection on trafficking in order to understand, analyse and respond effectively, protect vulnerable children and convict traffickers."

The evidence submission also identifies flaws in several current mechanisms designed to improve understanding of, and responses to, human trafficking, particularly child trafficking, and protect vulnerable children, including the Inter-Departmental Ministerial Group, the national body established to coordinate action on human trafficking, and the National Referral Mechanism, the UK's sole system of identifying and safeguarding trafficked children and adults. 

ECPAT UK, along with Catherine Bearder MEP, the Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Group and Oxcat, is calling on the UK Government to introduce an Independent Anti-Trafficking Commissioner. Sign the petition here

Read ECPAT UK's written response to the APPG on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery Inquiry on Data here


ECPAT UK has campaigned for more than twenty years to end all forms of child trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children. 

About the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery 

ECPAT UK assists the work of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery, which was established in Parliament to raise awareness of the scale and effects of human trafficking into the UK and the EU; and to seek solutions to reduce supply and demand; and to improve the welfare provisions for vicitms.  


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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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