Why is There Lack of Recognition for British Children who are Victim to Internal Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation?
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Child trafficking has been conceptualised as ‘modern day slavery’. Slavery has been held up as the worst possible exploitation in human history (Lee, 2007). For more than 20 years UK governments have ratified United Nation Conventions and Protocols and rescheduled laws in its effort to eradicate this crime. However, despite such political commitment, in reality thousands of British children are still victims to internal trafficking for sexual exploitation in the UK today. Over the last 10 years the UK government has employed agencies, in the shape of the UK Human Trafficking Centre (UKHTC), the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) and the Child Exploitation Online Protection Centre (CEOP). Each of these organisations have the specialised framework of identifying trafficked children (and adults), and estimating the scale of the problem. However, in each of the current reports delivered by these agencies, there is little or no statistical data and recognition for British national children (CEOP, 2010; HM Government, 2011; SOCA, 2012). The aim of this study was to try and seek out ‘why there is lack of recognition for British children who are victim to internal trafficking for sexual exploitation?’ By carrying out an analysis of academic, media and journal text and interviewing policing bodies and an NGO, who have direct experience with this subject matter, some quite alarming revelations were revealed. These include the covert nature of the crime; child protection professionals and the police not understanding the definition of ‘human trafficking’ as set out in the Palermo Protocol (2000); police officers not recording incidents of children being internally trafficked; police recording sexual exploitation as sexual abuse; no statutory responsibility of the police to pass information on trafficked children to either the UKHTC or the NRM; and the lack of police resources to deal with the situation. As such, this study presents that the internal trafficking of British children is not only a crime against humanity, but also a crime in which the UK government and its agencies appear to ignore.
Westcott, A. (2013) 'Why is There Lack of Recognition for British Children who are Victim to Internal Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation?', Plymouth Law and Criminal Justice Review, 5, pp. 191-211. Available at: https://pearl.plymouth.ac.uk/handle/10026.1/8981
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