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ECPAT UK response to relaxation of checks by the UK Border Agency

10 November 2011

In response to a leaked memo of a Home Office meeting on September 14 – which revealed fears that a pilot scheme to reduce checks by UK Border Agency officials in the summer could ‘facilitate child trafficking’ – ECPAT UK is deeply concerned that the relaxation of checks at border controls has put children at risk of being trafficked into the UK.

Christine Beddoe, director of ECPAT UK, says: “The trafficking of children into the UK is a huge problem. This year so far has seen well over 200 children identified as victims of trafficking into the UK.

“Any decision to relax checks regarding children entering the UK’s borders puts children at risk and means they are vulnerable to being exploited within the UK for any number of reasons, such as sexual exploitation, forced labour, crime, or other abuses.

“If officials themselves are concerned that the relaxation of checks could ‘facilitate child trafficking’, then the UK Government must urgently rethink its position and make sure that stringent checks are being carried out to protect children and young people.”

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Information for editors:
-    ECPAT UK (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes) is a leading UK children’s rights organisation. ECPAT UK works with the highest levels of government, but also reaches out to practitioners and those working directly with children through research, training and capacity building
-    According to official figures from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre’s (CEOP) Child Trafficking Update October 2011, 202 children have been identified as trafficked into and within the UK over the period  from 1 January 2011 to 15 September 2011. This figure includes referrals made to the National Referral Mechanism and referrals received by the Child Trafficking Advice and Information Line (CTAIL), operated by the NSPCC

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