To ask Her Majesty's Government how many children identified as potential victims of human trafficking have gone missing from local authority care in each financial year from 2009–10 to 2018–19.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what mechanisms are in place to monitor the number of children identified as potential victims of human trafficking who go missing from local authority care.
Information on the number of looked after children who have been identified as potential victims of human trafficking and who go missing from care is not held centrally.
The latest figures on looked after children who go missing in England as at 31 March are published in Table G1 of the statistical release ‘Children Looked after in England including adoptions: 2018 to 2019’, which is attached and is also available at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoption-2018-to-2019.
Slavery and trafficking of children is a very serious offence and the government is committed to protecting children from this harm. The response to trafficking should be primarily about protecting victims and bringing those who exploit them to justice.
Local authorities are responsible for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all children in their area, including child victims of modern slavery. The department’s statutory guidance for local authorities on care of unaccompanied migrant children and child victims of modern slavery is clear on authorities’ duties to work with local partners to protect child victims of modern slavery from further risk from their traffickers and preventing exploitation from taking place. In particular, there should be a clear understanding between the local authority and the police of their respective roles in planning for this protection and responding if a child victim of modern slavery goes missing.
Section 48 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 makes provisions for Independent Child Trafficking Advocates, which have been renamed Independent Child Trafficking Guardians (ICTGs). ICTGs are an independent source of advice for trafficked children; somebody who can speak up on their behalf and act in the best interests of the child. Currently, ICTGs have been rolled out to one third of local authorities in England and Wales and the government remains committed to a national rollout.