The Government is clear that where children are found to have been trafficked, regardless of exploitation type, their safety and welfare needs must be addressed as a priority and that child victims require tailored support which addresses their specific needs and vulnerabilities.
All local agencies including local authorities, police and Border Forcehave statutory duties to safeguard children as part of their local
responsibilities, regardless of nationality or immigration status. A child’s welfare is always the overriding consideration.
Responsibility for the care, protection and accommodation of all child trafficking victims rests with local authorities. local authorities have
well-established child support arrangements and a statutory duty under the Children Act 2004 to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children
in need of protection, including trafficked children regardless of their nationality or immigration status. Under these arrangements, looked after
children are provided with access to all their needs be they in relation to education, accommodation, psychological or health needs.
Local authorities co-ordinate the arrangements for each looked after childto ensure they are safeguarded and have their welfare promoted.
In January 2014 the Government announced proposals to trial specialist independent advocates for trafficked children. The trial, which began on 8 September 2014, will last for a period of 12 months across 23 local authorities in England.
The Modern Slavery Bill gives these advocates a statutory basis and the status they need to effectively support and represent the child. The Bill commits the Government to lay a report before Parliament setting out the steps the Government will take in relation to advocates for victims of child trafficking under these powers. Lessons learned from the trials will be detailed in the report, at which point we will be in a better position to assess what works best in supporting and protecting these vulnerable children.