Scotland is failing child victims of trafficking according to Commissioner's report
(SCCYP).- At least 80 and possibly many more children may have been trafficked into Scotland in 18 months without a single person being convicted for the crimes, according to a new report published today by Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People (SCCYP) and the Centre for Rural Childhood, Perth College UHI.
The report is the first in Scotland to attempt to quantify the scale of the problem.
These children may have been sold, stolen, taken off the streets and transported thousands of miles or sometimes given up by their families in the belief that they will have a better life elsewhere.
While trafficked children may face sexual exploitation, other forms of abuse including forced labour, benefit fraud and domestic servitude may be just as common.
The number of actual referrals of suspected child trafficking cases is only the tip of the iceberg and many more children may remain unidentified.
The report - Scotland: a safe place for child traffickers? - reveals that even in the few cases where children have been correctly identified as victims of trafficking, the poor response to their needs and the lack of successful criminal prosecutions of the perpetrators, makes Scotland a welcome place for traffickers to operate.
Speaking as the report was published, Tam Baillie, Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People said:
"When children are raped or exploited as slaves in households or businesses in Scotland it becomes our national scandal. When we fail to notice, fail to pick up the signs and fail to act on children's trauma, it demands action. I hope this report, the first of its kind in Scotland, will take the issue out into the open and result in action and change for child victims of trafficking."
Child trafficking has traditionally been considered an issue of border/migration control, leading to those who have been trafficked being regarded as part of the problem rather than as victims of human rights violations.
Based on the findings of the report, the Commissioner has made a series of recommendations for the UK Government, Scottish Government, local authorities, police forces and the UK Border Agency in Scotland.
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