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Press releases archive


New trafficked boys project draws inspiration from ECPAT UK Girls’ Youth Group

15 October 2013

Youth Group Wins AwardECPAT UK and The Children’s Society have announced the launch of a new partnership project to support boys and young men who have been trafficked to the UK.

The new project will draw on the successful model of peer support developed by the ECPAT UK Girls’ Youth Group, an initiative for girls and young women who are victims of trafficking, which provides a safe environment for young people to build confidence and skills, and participate in the process of the change.

Speaking at the launch event ahead of European Anti-Trafficking Day and Anti-Slavery Day on Friday 18th October, one Girls’ Youth Group member said: “It’s sometimes hard for us to talk about our experiences. The group gives confidence for young people to speak up for yourself. Before the group, I didn’t talk in class...When I started coming to ECPAT, I’ve become confident.”

Five hundred and forty nine children were identified as potential victims of human trafficking in 2012, a 12% increase on the previous year, according to the UK Human Trafficking Centre. More than a third of the children identified (38%) were boys.

A recent report by London Assembly Member Andrew Boff has also highlighted significant gaps in support structures available for trafficked boys and young men in London, where a fifth of trafficked victims identified are male.

Bharti Patel, CEO of ECPAT UK, said: “Boys and young men are increasingly being identified as vulnerable and at high risk of being trafficked to the UK for sexual exploitation, forced criminality, domestic servitude and forced labour.

“Support to all child victims of trafficking – both boys and girls – is vital for their recovery from the traumatic experiences resulting from gross abuse and multiple violations of their rights as children. This new partnership with The Children’s Society will help us understand the needs of boys and be in a better position to protect more boys in the future.”

Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said: “These children and young men have been controlled through violence, fear, imprisonment or debts. Many will have been through horrific ordeals, and it is incredibly important that they have someone who they can trust to support them to recover from the abuse.

“By sharing our expertise with ECPAT, we will be better placed to identify victims, raise awareness and help these young men and boys to rebuild their lives.”


Media enquiries   

For more information, please contact Bharti Patel, CEO, ECPAT UK, on 020 7233 9887 or


To make a referral, please contact Claudia Masini, The Children's Society, and Debbie Beadle, ECPAT UK,

About the statistics used in this release

Statistics are from the UK Human Trafficking Centre and Serious Organised Crime Agency report ‘A Strategic Assessment on the Nature and Scale of Human Trafficking’ and Andrew Boff’s report ‘Shadow City: Exposing Human Trafficking in Everyday London


ECPAT UK is a leading children’s rights charity working on the issues of child exploitation and child trafficking. It is active in campaigning and lobbying Government, producing research, training frontline professionals and working with young victims of trafficking.

About The Children’s Society

The Children’s Society wants to create a society where children and young people are valued, respected and happy. We are committed to helping vulnerable and disadvantaged young people, including children in care and young runaways. We give a voice to disabled children, help young refugees to rebuild their lives and provide relief for young carers. Through our campaigns and research, we seek to influence policy and perceptions so that young people have a better chance in life.

The Children’s Society and the Refugee Council last month published a review of support available for trafficked children.

About the ECPAT UK Youth Group

The ECPAT UK Youth Group is a peer support group of young women and girls who are victims of trafficking. The group meet on a weekly basis to support each other, gain valuable life skills and develop participatory projects which reflect on the UK response to child trafficking. Last year the ECPAT UK Youth Group won The Children’s and Young Peoples award for their work. 


Copyright © ECPAT UK 2015.

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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

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