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Press releases archive

 

Press releases 2013

Letter to Home Secretary: UK must do more ‘to rid the internet of the scourge of child abuse images’

18 June 2013

ECPAT UK has joined with other leading charities in the Children’s Charities’ Coalition on Internet Safety to urge the Home Secretary to improve the Government's response to the online child abuse image trade.

A recent letter, endorsed by ECPAT UK, to Rt Hon Theresa May MP cites between 50,000-60,000 individuals who are known to the police to have engaged in downloading or exchanging child abuse images. The letter goes on to state that the ‘operational realities’ of capacity-stretched UK law enforcement agencies do not avail the Government of its responsibilities in dealing with this staggering number of child abuse image crimes online.

Government urged to introduce guardianship pilots for trafficked children in England and Wales

14 June 2013

The UK Government should commission pilots in England and Wales for a system of guardianship for child victims of trafficking, according to the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR).

The recommendation, which acknowledges the positive impact of the Scottish Guardianship Service on unaccompanied and trafficked children, is a significant step forward in ECPAT UK’s five-year campaign to ensure child victims of trafficking in the UK are adequately protected and supported once they have been identified.

UK criminal justice system is losing its fight against trafficking, says new report of Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Group

In the Dock cover13 June 2013

A third report by the Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Group (ATMG) entitled ‘In the Dock’ examines the effectiveness of the UK Criminal Justice System’s (CJS) response to trafficking in terms of law, policy and practice. The ATMG is a coalition of organisations, including ECPAT UK, which was established to monitor the progress of the UK Government in responding to this crime.

The report found that, in spite of localised examples of good practice, the CJS fails to systematically prosecute traffickers and protect victims’ rights. Despite the Government’s claims to make the UK a “hostile environment” for traffickers, human trafficking is not a policing priority.

Government legal aid proposals will prevent trafficked children accessing justice

Scales of justiceChild victims of trafficking could be denied access to legal representation and unable to challenge unlawful decisions that put them at risk if legal aid proposals go ahead, ECPAT UK has warned today.

ECPAT UK is concerned that proposals in the Government’s consultation paper Transforming Legal Aid: Delivering a more credible and efficient system will prevent trafficked children accessing legal aid because of a proposed ‘residence test’. Under the proposal, civil legal aid would only be available to those who were ‘lawfully resident’ in the UK for a 12-month period. Child victims of trafficking would invariably not be lawfully present in the UK as they have been trafficked against their will for the purposes of exploitation in the UK.

Court considers issue of non-punishment in trafficking cases

Anti-Slavery International and ECPAT UK are pleased that the Court of Criminal Appeal has today signalled its recognition of the importance of Article 8 of the EU Trafficking Directive (2011/36), which enshrines the right for victims of trafficking to not be prosecuted for their involvement in criminal activities they have been compelled to commit as a direct consequence of being trafficked.

The Court discussed the responsibility of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in ensuring no trafficked child should be brought before a criminal court as a defendant when the crime is a consequence of trafficking. The CPS has indicated that it will revise its guidance to form a tighter safety net for these types of cases for both adults and children in trafficking situations. The Court also recognised the duty for UK law enforcement agencies to investigate the traffickers in these cases.

Weak UK laws put children at risk of sexual abuse, warns ACPO report

The United Kingdom’s law and extra-jurisdictional policing arrangements are putting vulnerable children at high risk of sexual abuse, by their failure either to prevent British sex offenders from travelling or to prosecute them when they commit offences abroad, according to a new report commissioned by the Association of Chief Police Officers released today.

The authors of the report are calling for simplification of the laws on British nationals sexually exploiting vulnerable children, and propose a single ‘Child Sexual Offences Prevention Order’. Unlike the existing range of prevention orders, this single order would simply necessitate evidence rather than, as now, requiring a previous qualifying conviction.

Sex offender ruling must not put children at risk

A decision that may allow child sex offenders to have their names removed from the Sex Offenders’ Register will put children in the UK and overseas at risk, ECPAT UK is warning. Following a ruling in 2012, child sex offenders may request to have their names removed from the register on the grounds that they ‘no longer pose a threat’ to children.

However, ECPAT UK has concerns over the methodology used by police to decide which convicted offenders no longer pose a threat to children, and whether these decisions take into account the risk of offenders going abroad to abuse children, such as in the case of Paul Gadd aka Gary Glitter.

Mapping human trafficking - Vilnius PAHT Seminar

On Friday 19th April, the Lithuanian Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights, chaired by Leonard Talmont MP, hosted a meeting of more than 40 parliamentarians, leading NGO experts, law enforcement officers, prosecutors and academics from countries across the European Union to discuss key measures and best practices to tackle human trafficking, including protecting victims, preventing trafficking and prosecuting traffickers.

The seminar, held in the Lithuanian Parliament, is the tenth event in a series of meetings organised across the European Union as part of building a network of parliamentarians against human trafficking. The focus of the meeting in Lithuania was on the development of tools for evidence gathering and mapping of information to help provide a clear picture of the scale of the problem in member states, the emerging patterns and hot spots, and to help point to solutions to address the concerns.

New Working Together guidance will fail trafficked children, ECPAT UK warns

New government guidance on working with children will fail to protect child victims of trafficking and leave them vulnerable to being further exploited and abused, a number of organisations have warned.

In a letter addressed to the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove MP, the children’s charity ECPAT UK, along with the Aire Centre, Anti-Slavery International, the British Association of Social Workers, CARE, the Children’s Rights Alliance England, Eaves, the Helen Bamber Foundation, the National Working Group, Stop the Traffik and several individuals, has expressed serious concerns about the amendments to Working Together to Safeguard Children, which is the core statutory guidance for those who have a responsibility towards children, such as social workers, police, immigration officials and health professionals.

UK Government letting down child victims of trafficking

The UK Government will tomorrow miss a major opportunity to crack down on child trafficking and the chance to effectively support the victims of this global trade. ECPAT UK, which campaigns against child exploitation and trafficking, has criticised the Government on the eve of the deadline by which the UK should have implemented the Directive on combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims.

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