The Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Group (ATMG), a group of charities, said Tuesday that the UK government was unable to formulate an integrated policy to fight children enslavement, adding that a fragmented approach to the issue and lack of specialist care had caused a record number of young victims to suffer from enslavement in the UK, Presstv Reported.
The ATMG said Britain was more focused to provide help to children who have been exploited by modern slavers, including those who have been raped and forced to move drugs from cities to rural areas. It added, however, that the government had no clear prevention strategy and there was no standard training program for many frontline professionals such as doctors, teachers and social workers who treat the vulnerable children.
The number of children trafficked in the UK in 2017 increased by 66 percent from the previous year to reach some 2,118 individuals. Most of those refereed to the government had been trapped in sexual exploitation, domestic servitude or forced labor.
Some two-thirds of the children enslaved last year were from foreign countries like Vietnam, Sudan, Eritrea, Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Australian human rights group Walk Free Foundation has estimated that the total number of people enslaved in the UK has increased by 10 times since 2013 to hit a record of 136,000 modern-day slaves.
Anti-Slavery International’s chief executive Jasmine O'Connor said it was a shame for the UK government that it could not provide enough protection for the victims of child abuse and trafficking.
“Having no clear plan in place to prevent child trafficking in the UK ... should shame this government,” said O'Connor, adding, “We need to create support networks that can make children and their families resilient to being coerced, are able to spot the worrying signs quickly, and can provide specialized support for children who have already been trafficked.”