17th June, 2021 10:00 am
A new pilot programme will give local authority safeguarding teams the power to decide upon a child’s status as a victim of trafficking.
The scheme will be used to test whether determining if a child is a victim of modern slavery within existing safeguarding structures is a more appropriate model for making modern slavery decisions for children, Home Office guidance states.
Currently, when children are referred to the National Referral Mechanism – the UK’s system for officially recognising victims of trafficking – decisions about whether or not they are a victim are made by Home Office officials. However, in areas where the 12-month pilot is set to be launched later this month decisions about whether a child is a victim will be made by the local safeguarding partners of social workers, police and health services.
“This approach will enable decisions about whether a child is a victim of modern slavery to be made by those involved in their care and ensure the decisions made are closely aligned with the provision of local, needs-based support and any law enforcement response,” according to the Home Office.
It will be carried out in:
- Cardiff Council
- Glasgow City Council
- Hull City Council
- London Borough of Barking and Dagenham
- London Borough of Islington (Joint with London Borough of Camden)
- Newport City Council (Joint with Torfaen, Blaenau Gwent, Monmouth, and Caerphilly)
- North Lincolnshire Council (Joint with North East Lincolnshire Council)
- North Yorkshire County Council (Joint with City of York)
- Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (Joint with Westminster City Council)
- Solihull Council
Patricia Durr, chief executive of ECPAT UK welcomed the launch of the pilot scheme. She said: “This is a positive step towards a more integrated approach to children’s rights and needs for protection which we hope will lead to greater provision of specialist care to help trafficked children overcome the trauma of exploitation and prevent re-trafficking and other forms of abuse.
“We will be closely monitoring the pilot to ensure all decisions and procedures are in line with the best interests of the child and to see its impact on outcomes for trafficked children.”
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