Baobab Centre for Young Survivors in Exile – Surviving violence, creating hope, rebuilding lives


Baobab Briefings

Appeal to Home Secretary – do more to help separated and trafficked children

The Baobab Center joins The Children’s Society, ECPAT UK and 40 others urging Home Secretary Sajid Javid to do more to help separated and trafficked children.

The Children’s Society, Every Child Protected against Trafficking (ECPAT UK) and 43 others have written a letter to Sajid Javid urging him to do more to help all separated and trafficked children.

Signatories include UNICEF UK, NSPCC, the Refugee Council, Action for Children and the International Organization for Migration. The organisations have joined forces to call on the Home Secretary to introduce independent legal guardians to support all separated and trafficked children and not just those suspected as victims of modern slavery. It follows the publication of the third interim report on child trafficking advocates, as part of the review of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

The review is considering what support is available to young victims of modern slavery, among other provisions. While the group welcomes many of the recommendations, they contend that the report has missed an opportunity to protect some of the most vulnerable children in our society; those in the UK on their own, separated from their families, with no one acting in their best interests.

Many of the organisations who signed the letter have campaigned for the introduction of independent legal guardians; more than 27,000 public supporters recently backed ECPAT UK’s online campaign.

Similar schemes already exist in Northern Ireland and Scotland, where guardianship is available to all unaccompanied children. The respective schemes are provided through each country’s modern slavery legislation, in recognition of its role in identifying and preventing child trafficking. The ongoing review of the Modern Slavery Act provides a crucial opportunity to make sure this form of vital protection is available for separated children in England and Wales too.

Nick Roseveare MBE, Chief Executive at The Children’s Society said:

As a group we want better outcomes for all separated children including those who have been trafficked. We are confident guardians would provide the help they need, just as they do in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Collectively, we are urging the Home Secretary to consider introducing this vital protection for children in England and Wales and demonstrate that the Government really does take children’s welfare seriously.”

Every Child Protected against Trafficking (ECPAT UK) is co-leading this action. ECPAT UK’s chief executive, Katherine Mulhern, said: