Inter-agency guidance on child trafficking

This toolkit is designed as Scottish practice guidance to be used with the Scottish Government National Child Protection Guidance.

5. Recognising and identifying trafficked children

The Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings ensures that each signatory country has mechanisms in place - The National Referral Mechanism ( NRM) - for identifying and recording cases of child trafficking. This formal procedure for assessing and recording all trafficking cases, including children, became operational on 1 April 2009. From this date new arrangements came into force to allow all cases of human trafficking to be referred by frontline agencies for assessment by designated Competent Authorities. In the UK the competent authorities are a central UK Human Trafficking Centre ( UKHTC) and the UK Immigration and Visas (formerly UKBA) for cases of immigration and asylum.

Glasgow was a pilot area for the assessment framework that accompanied the NRM referral to the competent authority. While difficulties were identified with the NRM and the assessment framework, recommendations were made for improvements. [10] A referral to the NRM does not require a criminal level of 'evidence' as a reasonable grounds decision by the Competent Authority can be made where there are suspicions and reasonable grounds to believe that a child has been trafficked. A conclusive decision is made when it is believed that on the 'balance of probabilities' a child has been trafficked.

One recommendation from the Local Safeguarding Children's Board ( LSBC) report centred around the need for a more accessible assessment framework form, and for a trafficking assessment to be incorporated into the Integrated Assessment Framework. Glasgow Child Protection Committee responded by designing a Child Trafficking Assessment ( CTA), focussing purely on trafficking concerns - this is the new form incorporated into thistoolkit under Appendix B.

The CTA should be completed by social work / police for all suspected child trafficking victims, in conjunction with the UK Immigration and Visas (formerly UKBA) where asylum / immigration issues are also apparent.

As child trafficking is child abuse, social workers are responsible for co-ordinating the completion of the CTA and a NRM referral report where appropriate, in conjunction with the police, and incorporating information from a partner agencies. [11] These actions should run parallel to local child protection procedures.


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