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Press releases archive


Press releases

Historic campaign win secures extra support for trafficked children

25th February 2015
Body Shop campaignChild victims of trafficking in England and Wales are set to benefit from ‘Child Trafficking Advocates’ with legal powers following ECPAT UK’s high-profile campaign to ensure new anti-slavery legislation adequately protects children and young people.

In a landmark step, members of the House of Lords today voted in favour of amendments to ensure advocates have the tools and independence to be effective in advocating for trafficked children’s rights.

Government commits to improve child exploitation laws

24 February 2015 

Children will benefit from improved child exploitation laws, following ECPAT UK’s campaign to make the Modern Slavery Bill more effective to prosecute child abusers.

The House of Lords yesterday agreed to strengthen the criminal offence of slavery, servitude, forced/compulsory labour in the Modern Slavery Bill, making a commitment to improve guidance on cases involving children and guaranteeing that all forms of exploitation, including sexual exploitation and forced criminality, are covered by the new offence.

This follows an earlier concession by Government in which MPs amended the offence to ensure that authorities give regard to the vulnerability of child victims and to clarify that 'alleged' consent to exploitation is not used against a victim, as children in particular are groomed into being exploited and cannot consent to these abuses.

Government must grasp historic opportunity to protect trafficked children

24 February 2015

Very few convictions are brought in the UK for child trafficking and child slaveryThe Government must today commit to clarify its proposed criminal legislation on child trafficking and child slavery if it wants to secure more prosecutions against those who exploit children, ECPAT UK has said.

ECPAT UK, supported by the Refugee Children’s Consortium, is urging the House of Lords to today strengthen the Modern Slavery Bill to make sure the law affirms the Government’s previously stated intention, that where the victim is a child, it shall be an offence to hold a child in slavery, servitude or forced/compulsory labour, even if there is no evidence of force, threat, deception or any type of coercion. CLICK HERE to read the ECPAT UK and Refugee Children's Consortium briefing on child exploitation offences.

Northern Ireland pioneers legal guardianship for trafficked children

20 January 2015

ECPAT UK guardianshp campaignNorthern Ireland has become the first country in the UK to introduce legal guardianship for trafficked and separated children, marking a major campaign success for ECPAT UK.

This week the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Bill in Northern Ireland, which began as a Private Member’s Bill from Lord Morrow, was given Royal Assent.

ECPAT UK worked closely with the Law Centre (NI) and Commissioner for Children and Young People to ensure an amendment to the Bill on legal guardianship was successfully included and passed, including delivering a keynote speech to Lord Morrow and a group of key partners in Belfast in September 2014.

ECPAT UK renews call to ratify European convention on sexual exploitation

19 January 2015

Accessible cover to COE ConventionThe UK must demonstrate its commitment to combat the sexual abuse of children in travel and tourism by ratifying the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (Lanzarote Convention), according to an updated briefing by ECPAT UK

Recent high profile cases have highlighted the UK Government’s continuing failure to protect children worldwide from British travelling sex offenders.

In their latest updated briefing, ECPAT UK says the UK must immediately ratify the Lanzarote Convention to reinforce efforts to prevent child sexual abuse abroad and to promote greater international cooperation to bring offenders to justice across borders.

Pan-European initiative empowers young people across borders to address online abuse

5 January 2015

ECPAT Make IT Safe Peer Experts at the conference in BrusselsMore than one hundred young people and experts throughout Europe have joined together to develop new youth-led responses to the surge in global online abuse, according to ECPAT partners in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands and the UK, announcing the successful completion of a two-year digital citizenship project.

The project, entitled Make IT Safe, has provided a successful template of grassroots approaches to the immense challenges posed by offenders who ruthlessly exploit new technologies, including mobile phone apps, social media sites and the hidden recesses of the dark web, to abuse children.

Campaign spotlight: Child trafficking and the Modern Slavery Bill

22 December 2014

Thank you to everyone for your overwhelming support in 2014 to help protect trafficked children. To close the year, we repost here a campaign film on identifying and supporting child victims of trafficking, featuring Chloe Setter, Head of Advocacy, Policy & Campaigns, and Debbie Beadle, Head of Youth Development. 

UK offender Simon Harris found guilty of child sexual abuse in Kenya

16 December 2014 

A Birmingham court has today found former public school teacher and overseas charity executive Simon Harris guilty of seven sexual offences against children while working in Kenya. 

Leading children’s rights charity ECPAT UK has welcomed the conviction of the offender under rarely used extraterritorial powers in the UK’s sexual offences legislation. Bharti Patel, CEO of ECPAT UK, said: “Bringing Simon Harris to justice, finally, following abuse against vulnerable children in the UK and Kenya in the 80s and 90s, is a positive outcome and we commend the justice system here in the UK.

Young leaders promote responsible digital citizenship at ECPAT conference

19 November 2014

Make-IT-Safe Berlin Conference

Young people from across the European Union shared their recommendations for improved digital citizenship amongst children and young people at the final Make IT Safe conference in November 2014. 

The “peer experts” discussed their two-year journeys training in peer-to-peer online safety and called for stronger preventative work against online child exploitation through youth development and government action.

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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