Anna*, an orphan, was 12 when she was brought to the UK on a “holiday” from West Africa.Within days of arriving, she was forced into domestic slavery.
Given only leftovers to eat, Anna quietly cried herself to sleep on the floor every night. If she made a noise, she was kicked and beaten. In the daytime, her captors invited men to the house to rape her for money. When she finally managed to escape, Anna was forced to sleep on the streets for months before she finally found a safe place to stay.
Unbelievably, neither the people that trafficked Anna to the UK nor the family that abused her for years were punished for what they did.
Right now we have an opportunity to ensure that Britain is a safe place for children and hostile to their traffickers. In less than a week, the Government will introduce a draft Modern Slavery Bill in the UK.
Ask Home Secretary Theresa May MP to help end child trafficking by including measures in the Modern Slavery Bill to prevent this crime, prosecute criminals and protect children.
Children like Anna are targeted by traffickers because they are inherently vulnerable, easy to control and groom, and because they are less likely to fight back or report a crime.
There is no specific provision in the UK’s anti-trafficking law to address child trafficking. In effect, it remains a low-risk crime. In 2011, there were only eight convictions under current UK legislation. Yet there are thousands of victims discovered each year, and hundreds of these are children.
Now is the time to act to protect these children and ensure the UK is equipped to fight this growing crime and human rights abuse. We are calling for the Modern Slavery Bill to include:
- Measures to protect and assist all victims, including the creation of a system of legal guardianship to provide vulnerable children with an independent professional to fight for their rights.
- The establishment of an independent Anti-Trafficking Commissioner to monitor and improve the UK’s response to human trafficking.
- The creation of a specific crime of child trafficking and exploitation to reflect the severity of this abuse of children and convict more offenders.
- Protection for victims so they are not imprisoned for crimes they were forced to commit by their traffickers.
Thank you in advance for your support. If you have a moment, please forward this to 3 other friends, so we can step closer to ending child trafficking and modern slavery in the UK.
ECPAT UK and the Walk Free Team
Currently the UK is a haven for child traffickers who are part of an international child porn network. Traffickers are almost never prosecution or arrested. Victims on the other hand often end up in British prisons. Please help stop this evil trade in children.