Take action against Child Trafficking in Sandwell and West Birmingham

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Sandwell and West Birmingham residents are being urged to spot the signs of child trafficking. Our CCG is raising awareness of the warning signs and how residents can take action.

Child trafficking is where children are recruited/groomed and moved or transported and then exploited. Many children are trafficked into the UK from abroad, but children can also be trafficked from one part of the UK to another and even locally within the same town (for example to a hotel).

Children are trafficked for many reasons, including sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, labour, benefit fraud and involvement in criminal activity such as pick -pocketing, theft and working in cannabis farms.

Traffickers use a variety of methods to recruit their victims. Some children are coerced, but most are trapped in subversive ways. For example, children may be promised education or ‘respectable’ work in restaurants or as domestic servants, or parents may be persuaded that their children will have a better life elsewhere.

Signs that a child has been trafficked may not be obvious, but people might notice unusual behaviour or events. The key signs people need to look for include:

•    Are there signs of physical neglect? Malnutrition, lack of clothing, lack of access to medical care?
•    Does the child have expensive clothes/mobile phone/money and other possessions without a plausible explanation?
•    Is the child cared for or accompanied by an adult who is not the child’s parent or guardian? Do they insist on being with the child at all times?
•    Do they show physical signs that they’ve been working? E.g. backache, tiredness
•    Is there an adult loitering outside the child’s home or place of education?
•    Does the child have a much older boyfriend?
•    Does the child seem to be withdrawn and afraid to talk to those in authority?
•    Is there evidence to suggest the child’s traveling or visas was organised by someone other than a family member?
•    Is the child among other unrelated children at an address? Does the child give answers similar to others who may have been coached

Prof Nick Harding, Chair of NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG, said:

“Child Trafficking could be happening anywhere so it’s important that local people are aware of the signs and can take action. Trafficked children are usually too afraid to seek help and it is hard to remove them from the people exploiting them.

“Anyone who suspects someone is a potential victim, should call the confidential 24 hour helpline hosted by the Salvation Army on 0300 3038151 or the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700. If someone is in immediate danger, please call 999.”