Child trafficking is a global business that targets and victimises the most vulnerable children for transportation, abuse and exploitation across the world. It is a largely hidden problem and is often described as a form of modern-day slavery. The children involved are in no way responsible for their predicament, having been coerced, bribed or forced into, and unable to escape from, the control of traffickers.
The effect of trafficking on children is wide-reaching; many will experience significant harm as a result of their situation, and outcomes for them may be extremely poor as a result of lack of proper care or access to universal services such as health and education as traffickers seek to avoid contact with the authorities.
At the end of 2008 the UK Government ratified the Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human beings,  which came into effect in the UK on 1 st April 2009. In July 2011 the UK Government opted into Directive 2011/36/ EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Human Beings and Protecting its Victims  , which was transposed 6 April 2013. This Directive replaces the Council Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA, and strengthens the provisions contained within the Convention by taking a victim centred approach, providing for more rigorous prosecution of offenders, victim's support, victim's rights in criminal proceedings, and prevention. It has important implications for the identification and recording of suspected trafficking victims.
Because tackling trafficking requires a multi-agency response at all levels, the Scottish Government has prepared this protocol based on the Glasgow Child Protection Committee model, in order to provide information and guidance to all members of the children's workforce so that professionals and others are able to identify trafficked children and make appropriate referrals so that victims can receive protection and support. This guidance should be read in conjunction with the Scottish Government National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2010  , the Scottish Government publication Safeguarding Children in Scotland Who May Have Been Trafficked  , and the London Safeguarding Children Board toolkit and guidance  .
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