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People Trafficking

Volume 716: debated on Thursday 7 January 2010


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether 77 children suspected of having been trafficked went missing from a children's home near Heathrow since March 2006; if so, whether any of them have been found; and what steps have been taken to prevent such a situation happening again. [HL832]

Children who enter the UK without an adult to take responsibility for their care, which could include children who may have been trafficked into the country, will become looked after by the local authority where they present. Where any looked-after children subsequently go missing from their care placements, the local authority must report their absence to the local police so that all necessary action can be taken to locate them and make sure that they are safe.

Information about the outcomes of individual children who have gone missing from care in any local authority is not collected centrally. However, following the Prime Minister’s Parliamentary Answer to the honourable Member for Hayes and Harlington in the other place on 6 May, officials from the Home Office and the DCSF were asked to investigate concerns about potentially trafficked children from abroad going missing from the London Borough of Hillingdon.

Hillingdon works very closely with other local partner agencies through the Hillingdon Local Safeguarding Children Board, which has a child trafficking sub-group. Since 2007, stronger process and systems have been put in place to disrupt the trafficking of children through Heathrow Airport, which has had the effect of reducing the numbers both of young people arriving at Heathrow suspected as being at risk of trafficking and of children later going missing from residential care.