asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they will accept the advice of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children that all children presumed to have been trafficked be provided with a legal guardian; and whether this would reduce the number who go missing. [HL2504]
We are not convinced that the provision of legal guardians for children who are believed to have been trafficked would provide significant additional safeguards to those that already exist nor reduce the number of children who go missing.
Local authorities already have a statutory duty to ensure that their functions are discharged having regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children under Section 11 of the Children Act 2004 regardless of their immigration status. They also have responsibilities for unaccompanied children, as well as those who arrive in the UK with their parents and for whom there are concerns regarding their safety and welfare.
The protection and subsequent care plans for each child are based on assessments of individual needs. Such assessments are already subject to external scrutiny through a number of statutory routes.