Thank you for your interest in ECPAT UK and University of Bedfordshire’s Global Call for Evidence. In these definitions and guidelines, you can find more information on this project, including definitions, methodology, child protection and data protection.

ECPAT UK and the University of Bedfordshire especially welcome examples of practice, reports and other resources relating to outcomes for child victims and their participation in research.

What is human trafficking of children?

Human trafficking is defined internationally as ‘the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of a child for the purpose of exploitation’. In this context, exploitation shall include, at a minimum, labour exploitation, sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, criminal exploitation, and organ harvesting.

What is modern slavery of children?

Modern slavery is defined in the UK as Modern slavery encompassing human trafficking and slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour.

What are outcomes?

An outcome is the consequence of an action. Within the context of the care and protection of young people with experiences of trafficking and modern slavery, the kinds of actions we are interested in are those relating to services - including those of both public authorities and non-governmental organisations - and to interventions, programmes, and approaches to working.  For example, an outcome may relate to what makes a difference to a child’s life such as being listened to, being believed, accessing support or opportunities. Child-defined outcomes measure the views of children and young people on their progress, lived experience and experience of processes or services.

What is child participation?

Child participation is one of the four guiding principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) set out in Article 12 - the child’s right to be heard. Children’s participation is crosscutting and should permeate all actions affecting them. Child participation in research can be defined as “a research process which involves those being researched in the decision-making and conduct of the research” (Bourke, 2009). 

Children’s outcomes after exploitation: the evidence gap

We have identified that the participation of trafficked and exploited children is often missing from research, policy and practice developments. This simultaneously jeopardizes the impact of counter trafficking responses across these interrelated systems and children’s outcomes. The findings within a small body of research regarding trafficked and/or exploited children, have been qualitatively focused on children and young people’s experiences of trafficking and feelings towards it (Hamenoo and Sottie, 2014; Connolly, 2014), their experiences of front-line and advocacy services (Gearon, 2019) and their vulnerabilities to trafficking and re-trafficking, including going missing (ECPAT UK 2017). There is a significant evidence gap as to the short-, medium- and long-term outcomes for children and young people following exploitation, particularly one which is addressed from the perspective of children to inform what ‘good’ outcomes look like. 


Respondents are encouraged to send written submissions, publications or other resources in support of their submission. Relevant resources may include published or unpublished research papers, articles, policy briefs, presentations, reviews, evaluations, fact sheets, manuals, policies, strategies, news media and conference papers.

 How to make a submission

Submissions can be provided by sending any evidence including reports to [email protected] . These may include:

  1. Examples, information and knowledge about short term, medium term and long-term outcomes for child victims of trafficking.
  2. Examples, information and knowledge about child participation in developing what ‘good’ outcomes are.
  3. Examples, information and knowledge about ‘what works’ in human trafficking work.

 How your submissions will be used

ECPAT UK welcomes all submissions. As part of this research, we will review and analyse evidence to improve the evidence base of post-identification outcomes. The analysis will be published in academic journals and disseminated publicly in a launch event. Your submissions will contribute to addressing significant gaps in the evidence base to improve ensure children can access a stable future.

 Child protection and safeguarding

The greatest priority for ECPAT UK and University of Bedfordshire is the safety and protection of children. We have duty to report any concerns about harm and well-being of children and vulnerable adults that may be used through this call for evidence. With this in mind, we request respondents not to disclose personally identifiable information on individual children or adults, including names and exact locations. The only exception is information that is readily available in the public domain, such as publicly available legal proceedings, media articles or publications.

If you are concerned that someone is at risk of harm, we would recommend that you contact the police or relevant children services agency in your country. If you would like to discuss any concerns with ECPAT UK directly, please contact our Safeguarding Lead, Patricia Durr at: [email protected]

For more information, please read ECPAT UK’s Safeguarding Policy and University of Bedfordshire’s Safeguarding Policy

 Privacy and data protection

ECPAT UK strongly values privacy and data protection and is cognisant of the pressures and risks faced by practitioners, advocates and researchers around the world. Respondents can indicate how they allow their submissions to be used, presented and communicated by ECPAT UK.

For more information, please read ECPAT UK’s Privacy Policy and the University of Bedfordshire’s Privacy Policy, which sets out how we use and protect any personal data that are shared with us.


Every Child Protected Against Trafficking (ECPAT UK) is a leading children's rights organisation working to protect children from trafficking and exploitation. We support children everywhere to uphold their rights and to live a life free from abuse. ECPAT UK has campaigned for more than 20 years to protect children, and prevent child trafficking, modern slavery and child sexual abuse. We published the first research on child trafficking in the UK and continue to lead the campaign for the rights and protection of trafficked children. Our work aims to bring about positive change for children by advocating for improved policy and legislation, directly supporting child victims of trafficking, producing child-focused research and delivering quality, rights-based training on child exploitation. For more information visit 

 About the University of Bedfordshire

The University of Bedfordshire (UoB) is a modern, innovative university with a heritage of top-quality education going back more than 100 years. The University of Bedfordshire is proud to be one of the most diverse universities in the UK nurturing students to become educated, employable and entrepreneurial global citizens. The university supports students in all aspects of their life and encourages them to influence the education and services provided and aims to provide transformational opportunities through access to an excellent educational experience and a vibrant multi-cultural learning community enabling people to transform their lives by participating in an excellent and innovative learning experience, through our curriculum, co-curriculum, extra-curriculum, scholarship and research. UoB primary activities are teaching and research. In terms of teaching, courses are designed to integrate the latest theoretical developments in a range of subject areas with current professional, industry or commercial practices to ensure that students have the knowledge and skills sought by employers or for further study. The university has 10 research institutes ensuring an active and dynamic research community within the University.

Contact details

For any question or comments about the call for evidence or these definitions and guidelines, please contact us at [email protected]