CoramBAAF and CCLC stands with The Children’s Society and ECPAT UK to urge the Home Office to do more to help trafficked children
CoramBAAF and CCLC have co-signed a letter to Sajid Javid calling on him 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.
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.”
CoramBAAF’s Director of Policy, Research and Development, Dr John Simmonds added: “Every child or young person needs to develop a relationship with an adult who comes to know them in a secure, reliable and informed way. This is typically the role of their parents. Unaccompanied asylum seeking young people and those who are subject to modern slavery need such a person even more. Guardianship is a well-established solution in other countries in the U.K. and needs to be made available across England as a priority. These young people deserve and need no less.”
A copy of the letter can be viewed here.