Centre de Ressources pour les Mineurs Isolés Etrangers

Accueil > Actualités MIE > Child trafficking victims disappearing from UK care at ’alarming’ (...)

Child trafficking victims disappearing from UK care at ’alarming’ rate

Publié le 14-11-2016

Source :

Auteur : Annie Kelly and Kate Hodal

« Report says true scale of trafficked children who have gone missing is unclear as many local authorities lack data on how many are in their care.

Child trafficking victims and unaccompanied children are going missing from local authority care at an “alarming” rate according to a new report, which reveals that in one year, nearly 30% of all UK child trafficking victims and 13% of unaccompanied children disappeared from care services.

New research by child trafficking NGO Ecpat UK and the charity Missing People has found that 167 of the 590 children suspected or identified as child trafficking victims in the year from September 2014 to 2015 vanished from foster and care homes across the country.

An additional 593 of the 4,744 unaccompanied children placed under the protection of local authorities also went missing at least once in the same time period. Of the 760 trafficked or unaccompanied children who disappeared from care, 207 have never been found.

The new data, drawn largely from freedom of information requests to 217 local authorities across the UK, shows that Thurrock, Hillingdon, Croydon, Kent County Council and Surrey had the highest numbers of trafficked and unaccompanied children who were unaccounted for. One local authority reported that 22 child trafficking victims had gone missing in the recorded time period.

The majority of child trafficking victims who vanished from care are from Vietnam, Albania and the UK. Most of the unaccompanied children who went missing are from Afghanistan, Eritrea, Albania and Vietnam.

Despite the high numbers, Ecpat says that the real scale of the UK’s missing child trafficking victims is still not accurately reflected in the data.

Chloe Setter, Ecpat UK’s head of advocacy and policy, said there was “huge concern” that only 45 of the 217 local authorities asked for information were able or willing to provide data on the numbers of children whose whereabouts were still unknown.

“I think what is most alarming about this survey isn’t the data we’ve received, it is the data that we haven’t,” said Setter.

“Twenty per cent of the local authorities we contacted could not even report how many children in their care were [formally] identified or suspected of being trafficked. Only 10 local authorities could report the nationalities of the trafficked children who had disappeared. It is unacceptable that we can’t get a clear picture on how many exploited children are simply falling off the radar and, in the case of trafficked children, presumed to be back in the hands of their exploiters. These are hundreds of children who have simply vanished from places where they should have been protected.”

The report also underscores issues with identification and recording practices. Despite London being a prime destination for human traffickers, 10 of 33 local authorities reported zero trafficked children, and an additional four local authorities were unable to provide any information.

“There has to be an improved data recording system put in place for trafficked and missing children,” said Setter. “Many of the authorities we asked couldn’t even search for these children in their existing databases.”

The report cites various reasons for the children going missing, from the failure of the government to identify trafficked children, to the influence and control of traffickers, lack of trust in adults and lack of consistent support. Poor protection measures, as well as asylum and immigration concerns, were also noted.

Ecpat and Missing Children say that in order to stem the flow of exploited children disappearing from care services, the child protection system must be expanded to introduce specific training on child trafficking and unaccompanied children and investment in appropriate accommodation and support services.

Lynne Chitty, UK care director at the anti-trafficking charity Love146, said she was not surprised by the findings of the report and expected the numbers to continue to rise if urgent safeguarding policies were not implemented immediately.

“Every week we see children going missing, most within 24 hours of arriving in care, and we know child trafficking victims are largely going back to their traffickers,” she said. “Many are in debt bondage or have been given a number to call as soon as they get taken into care. They aren’t getting the protection, services or support they need to stop them from believing that their traffickers are the only option for them here.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Education said : “It is vital that children in care are protected from harm. We have already strengthened regulations on children’s homes, and local authorities have a duty to tell us about all incidents of young people going missing.

“But we know trafficked and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children are especially vulnerable. That’s why we have commissioned specialist training for those caring for them, committed to an independent advocate in each area to help champion their rights and outlined clear plans for a new government strategy to look at their particular needs, including reviewing the accommodation available. »

Voir en ligne :


Association InfoMIE
22, rue Corvisart - 75013 Paris

Contact :
Aurélie GUITTON, Coordinatrice

Contact mail

Contenu inaccessible

Enregistrant une baisse continue des financements publics et privés malgré une activité en hausse incessante depuis des années, la plateforme InfoMIE suspend volontairement pendant une semaine l’accès au centre ressources.

Elle entend ainsi alerter sur sa situation les pouvoirs publics défaillants au regard de la mission de service public rendue et les quelques 60 000 visiteurs mensuels.

Depuis deux ans, InfoMIE a développé de nouvelles activités pour répondre aux demandes croissantes des acteurs, dont les pouvoirs publics, accompagnant ces enfants particulièrement vulnérables, appelés mineurs isolés étrangers ou MNA. Elle apporte une information objective, exhaustive et de qualité au nombre croissant d’acteurs confrontés à cette thématique, grâce au travail de son unique coordinatrice. Cela ne suffit plus.

Si cette situation vous préoccupe vous pouvez au choix et de manière cumulative :
Faire un don en ligne

  • Faire un don
    ou par chèque à l’ordre d’infoMIE, à envoyer à
    InfoMIE, 22 rue Corvisart, 75013 Paris
  • Relayer cette information sur les réseaux sociaux

Merci de votre soutien