Since 1994, ECPAT UK's targeted and focused campaigns and activities have been successful in improving child protection, including the introduction of new UK legislation and the ratification of relevant international conventions, and in raising awareness about child trafficking, exploitation and the abuse of children by British sex offenders at home and abroad.


ECPAT UK and 36,790 supporters call on the Government to reform the NRM and demand specialist support for trafficked children

Children in the UK of all nationalities who have been exploited should be guaranteed access to specialist support that helps them to recover from abuse, ECPAT UK supporters demanded in a viral campaign launched in July 2017. Judith H., a supporter from the UK, said: "This is a major issue. It's on your watch. You have the power to improve the lives of a significant number of children. Just do it Ms Rudd."

Mayor of London prioritises anti-trafficking efforts, after pressure from coalition supported by ECPAT UK 

The Mayor and Deputy Mayor for Policing & Crime have answered calls from NGOs to outline their plans to strengthen London’s response to human trafficking, after a staggering 260% increase in the number of victim referrals in the capital. Ahead of a conference co-organised by ECPAT UK to commemorate the commitment, the Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “This is a crime that we can only solve by working together. Modern slavery touches on the work of so many sectors across London and nationally. In light of this, my Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Sophie Linden, has established a London Modern Slavery Steering Group which will meet for the first time this summer."


Groundbreaking report on missing children who have been trafficked published by ECPAT UK

In November 2016, ECPAT UK published Heading back to harm, an in-depth report on the growing phenomenon of trafficked children going missing from care. The report, which analysed Freedom of Information data from more than 200 local authorities in the UK, found that more than a quarter of all trafficked children and over 500 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children went missing at least once in the year to September 2015, while 207 have not been found.

Nearly 40,000 people support ECPAT UK campaign to hold online offenders financially accountable for online abuse

In 2016, ECPAT UK and 38,599 members of the public petitioned the Justice Secretary Michael Gove MP to introduce a legal financial order to enable child victims of online sexual abuse to claim compensation from their abusers. 


Independent Child Trafficking Advocates trial evaluated by research team featuring ECPAT UK 

After successfully campaigning for the inclusion of the Independent Child Trafficking Advocates (ICTA) provision in the Modern Slavery Act 2015, ECPAT UK supported the evaluation of the first ever pilot scheme in the UK. The final report found that "the specialist ICTA service has been successful as measured in relation to several beneficial outcomes for trafficked children".


Campaign success! Government includes ECPAT UK recommendations in draft Modern Slavery Bill

After sustained pressure from ECPAT UK and partners, the UK Government agreed to include two ECPAT UK campaign calls to protect trafficked children in the Modern Slavery Bill. 

  • The legislation pledges to protect victims of human trafficking from crimes they were compelled to commit by their traffickers, echoing the calls of the more than 70,000 supporters of ECPAT UK’s Modern Slavery Bill campaign launched in December 2013 in partnership with Walk Free.  
  • The Bill also introduces an Anti-Slavery Commissioner after calls from ECPAT UK and other leading charities for the UK to strengthen its response to modern slavery and trafficking.

In a welcome move, the Bill will also include a ’benefit of the doubt‘ clause about children’s age, which ECPAT UK has argued is a necessary part of the new legislation. This will help to ensure that, when there is reason to believe a person is a child but there is no proof of age, agencies treat those without proof of age as children and provide them with the necessary support until an age assessment has been carried out. ECPAT UK will continue to campaign for further provisions in the Bill, including a legal system of guardianship, throughout 2014.

ECPAT UK influences landmark Modern Slavery Bill on protection needs for child victims of trafficking

On 10 June 2014, the UK Government introduced the UK’s first ever draft legislation on human trafficking and modern slavery. ECPAT UK influenced the development of the Bill throughout the drafting process, dating back to December 2013. Two specially appointed committees called on ECPAT to submit evidence on four separate occasions, twice independently as ECPAT UK and twice as a member of the Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Group.

The Modern Slavery Bill Review Committee and the Joint Committee on the Modern Slavery Bill both incorporated ECPAT UK’s recommendations in respective reports to the Home Secretary. These recommendations included establishing a legal system of guardianship, a specific criminal offence of child trafficking, an Anti-Slavery Commissioner and a non-prosecution clause for trafficked children forced to commit criminal offences. Read the full reports here and here.      

Foreign Secretary urged to help stop the sexual abuse of children in tourism

With the World Cup 2014 fast approaching, ECPAT UK launched a campaign calling on the Foreign Secretary to help stop the sexual abuse of children in tourism, starting with the urgent issue in Brazil. Researchers and child protection experts estimate that there are more than 250,000 child victims of sexual exploitation in Brazil, with many more placed at risk by the influx of more than 600,000 tourists to the country for the World Cup in June 2014. 

By May 2014, nearly 15,000 supporters had taken action, calling on the Government to establish investigative and data collection systems to improve prosecutions of UK offenders and protect children abroad.

Huge public support for ECPAT UK Modern Slavery Bill campaign

In December 2013, the UK Government introduced a draft Modern Slavery Bill in response to years of sustained pressure from campaigners, including ECPAT UK, to improve the UK’s response to human trafficking and modern slavery. From the outset, ECPAT UK expressed concerns about the lack of provisions in the legislation to protect victims of trafficking, particularly children, and launched a public campaign to call for vital protections for trafficked children.

By the end of April, more than 60,000 members of the public had supported ECPAT UK’s calls, including a system of legal guardianship for all trafficked children in the UK, a specific offence for child trafficking and a clause to protect children from crimes they were forced to commit.