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Human Trafficking: Children

Volume 486: debated on Tuesday 13 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many children rescued from human traffickers have subsequently been put up in bed and breakfast accommodation in each of the last five years; (243308)

(2) where children rescued from human traffickers are accommodated.

There are no central records on the type of accommodation provided for trafficked children. When a child is identified as a victim of trafficking a full assessment is made of their circumstances and needs by a designated social worker as required by section 20 of the Children Act 1989. Should there be an imminent risk of harm then child protection procedures under Section 47 of the Act should be invoked. Following these assessments it will be for the local authority to determine the exact nature of accommodation provided.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether (a) the use of safe accommodation at the Poppy Project is available for children who are victims of human trafficking and (b) there is safe accommodation providing 24-hour care for trafficked children. (243309)

The POPPY project was established exclusively to support and accommodate adult women who have been trafficked for sexual exploitation and does not therefore accommodate child victims.

When a child is identified as a victim of trafficking, a full assessment is made of their circumstances and needs by a social worker as required by section 20 of the Children Act 1989. If on the basis of this assessment, the child is unaccompanied and there is no suitable adult to take responsibility for their care; or the child appears to be lost or abandoned, then there will be a presumption that the child will need to become a looked-after child. Where it is judged that the child would be best looked after under foster care or in a children’s home, then 24-hour care will be provided.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether her Department has assessed the possibility that rescued children who are victims of human trafficking may still be under the control of traffickers while they are in local authority care. (243347)

The Government acknowledges that some rescued trafficked children placed in local authority care may still be vulnerable to their trafficker. In December 2007 the Government published “Working Together to Safeguard Children Who May Have Been Trafficked”. This multi agency guidance provides comprehensive information on how a child should be protected from their trafficker and of the risks of a child being re-trafficked.