U.K. 'failing' to save thousands of children from modern slavery

In Britain, 2,118 children suspected to have been trafficked were referred to the government last year, up 66 percent on 2016 and the highest annual number on record.

By REUTERS
September 11, 2018 14:26
2 minute read.
Discussion panel with Kevin Hyland, at Anti-Slavery Freedom Conference on 12th November 2016

Discussion panel with Kevin Hyland, at Anti-Slavery Freedom Conference on 12th November 2016. (photo credit: ANTI-TRAFFICKING MONITORING GROUP)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

LONDON - Britain is failing to protect thousands of children from being trafficked and enslaved, activists said on Tuesday, criticising the government for lacking a clear strategy to stop girls from being sexually abused and gangs from using young people as drug mules.

The government's approach to tackling child trafficking is fragmented and young victims lack specialist care at a time when a record number of child slaves are being uncovered, said the Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Group (ATMG), a group of charities.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


In Britain, 2,118 children suspected to have been trafficked - mostly trapped in sexual exploitation, domestic servitude or forced labour - were referred to the government last year, up 66 percent on 2016 and the highest annual number on record.

About a third were British, many used as drug runners, while hundreds were trafficked from countries such as Vietnam, Sudan, Eritrea, Afghanistan and Iraq, according to government figures.

"Having no clear plan in place to prevent child trafficking in the UK ... should shame this government," said Anti-Slavery International's chief executive Jasmine O'Connor, adding that simply targeting the traffickers would not solve the problem.

"We need to create support networks that can make children and their families resilient to being coerced, are able to spot the worrying signs quickly, and can provide specialised support for children who have already been trafficked," she added.

A Home Office (interior ministry) spokesman told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that the government already had a clear plan to prevent human trafficking, especially that of children.

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


"This has been a key component of our world-leading approach to tackling modern slavery since 2014, when the Modern Slavery Strategy was published," he said.

Britain last week announced a 2 million pound ($2.6 million) scheme to help authorities protect vulnerable children from traffickers and gangs who rape them and force them to move drugs from cities to rural areas.

Yet the government mostly focuses on helping children who have been exploited, rather than prevention, while frontline professionals such as doctors, teachers and social workers lack the training to spot vulnerable children, according to the ATMG.

Unlike adult victims, trafficked children have no guarantee of specialist support once identified, and many go into the care of local authorities where they may end up in fresh danger, said Catherine Baker, policy officer at charity ECPAT UK.

"In the care of children's services, they too often go missing or are retrafficked. This marks a complete failure to prevent these most vulnerable of victims from further harm."

Hailed as a global leader in the anti-slavery drive, Britain last month said it would review its landmark 2015 law amid criticism that it is not being used fully to jail traffickers, help victims, or drive companies to spot and stop forced labour.

Britain is home to at least 136,000 modern-day slaves, says the Australian human rights group Walk Free Foundation - a figure about 10 times higher than a 2013 government estimate.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

70th Primetime Emmy Awards; The cast poses backstage with their Outstanding Comedy Series award
September 18, 2018
'Mrs. Maisel' takes home seven Emmy awards

By REUTERS