Friday, 21st December 2018

ECPAT UK has today announced solicitor Silvia Nicolaou Garcia as the recipient of the 2018 Children’s Champion award.

The award is made in recognition of Silvia’s tireless efforts to challenge the injustices endured by vulnerable children, with a specific focus on child victims of trafficking in the UK and overseas, many of whom are often denied their fundamental rights to protection and access to justice.

Silvia, a solicitor with UK law firm Simpson Millar LLP, has led a number of important legal cases on behalf of child and adult victims of trafficking, including the recent landmark TDT decision on the positive obligations of the Government to protect victims of trafficking and a successful challenge to the Home Office’s cuts to subsistence payments for victims of trafficking. However it is her dedication to the proactive, day-to-day support of child victims that sets her apart as an outstanding advocate for children.

As a public law and community care solicitor, Silvia is renowned for her in-depth, specialist knowledge of the issues that affect child victims of trafficking, particularly regarding access to local authority support and care, identification and support through the National Referral Mechanism and compensation for victims.

Bharti Patel, CEO of ECPAT UK, says

‘Silvia is an exceptional public law and community care lawyer who fiercely advocates for her clients. Her talents lie in her detailed understanding of children's rights across national, European and international contexts; applying these when pursuing complex children's cases. We often share our concerns with her, seeking her expert knowledge and dedication to ensure children everywhere are protected and are free from trafficking, abuse and exploitation.

‘ECPAT UK has called on Silvia's expertise on numerous occasions and we are always impressed by her willingness to go the extra mile to ensure child victims of trafficking can access their rights. Silvia has an exceptional rapport with the young people enrolled in ECPAT UK’s youth programme, who are put at ease by her approachable manner. She is always available to advise when a young person is having difficulties, and she frequently goes above and beyond to support victims of child trafficking with complex needs.'

Accepting the award, Silvia says

I am humbled and honoured to receive ECPAT UK 2018 Children’s Champion award. Our clients are survivors. They have a huge amount of strength and courage that we should all applaud. 

‘It is a complete privilege to have worked with ECPAT UK over the last few years. I want to recognise the important role of ECPAT UK in the fight against human trafficking. They not only provide excellent support and give a voice to trafficked children, but also lobby governments to improve laws, policies and practices. Through their work they help in eradicating human trafficking.

‘The prohibition from slavery and forced labour under Article 4 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) is absolute. We have come a long way since the drafting of the ECHR, but are still far from achieving the full protection victims and survivors deserve under Article 4. There is much more that needs to be done to provide protection for trafficked children and I look forward to more joint work with ECPAT UK in the future.’

About the ECPAT UK Children's Champion Award 

The ECPAT UK Children’s Champion Award is an annual award presented to one individual who has shown outstanding commitment to children. Past winners include:

  • The Scottish Guardianship Service, for its child-centred model of practice with unaccompanied and separated and trafficked children in Scotland.
  • Lord McColl of Dulwich CBE, for his compassioned and dedicated fight for a system of independent guardianship for trafficked children over many years
  • Kalvir Kaur, a leading children’s solicitor and former Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year, who has specialised in cases of trafficked children
  • Nadine Finch, barrister and leading children’s rights advocate, who has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to children’s rights
  • The Row for Freedom team of five young women, who gained two world records by rowing unaided across the Atlantic Ocean to raise awareness of child trafficking


Press contact

Sinead Geoghegan, Communications and Media Officer, [email protected], 0207 607 2136