Dear supporters

As we come to the end of 2020, I want to say a big thank you for all your continued support in what has been the most challenging of years for all of us. You’ve stuck with us when we needed it the most and for that we will be endlessly grateful.

This year has been a landmark year in so many ways. Covid-19 has created challenges for everyone, full of restrictions and uncertainty. It also exposed and heightened existing inequalities and injustice and most severely impacted those who were already vulnerable, while the Black Lives Matter movement highlighted underlying systemic racism. The year also marked 20 years of the Palermo Protocol, the 10th anniversary of the UK's Anti-Slavery Day and 5 years of the Modern Slavery Act as we continue to campaign for stable futures for trafficked children.

For me personally, becoming the ECPAT UK CEO half way through the year has been a huge honour, privilege and a challenge. I am so proud of all of our staff, volunteers, donors and supporters and the young people we work with for incredible resourcefulness, adaptability and strength at this time – a true community effort!

For child victims of trafficking, the falling away of support and services hit hard and exposed them to greater risks. It is why we were so vocal in our support for the #ScrapSI445 campaign and why we were so pleased at last month’s High Court ruling that the Secretary of State had acted unlawfully. As we weather through the current restrictions and coming hard winter months, we trust this means that the removal of hard won rights and protection does not happen again.

We've continued to make sure that the voices of child victims of trafficking are heard this year including in our evidence to the Education Select Committee and the UN Special Rapporteur on Modern Slavery on the impact of Covid-19, our Snapshot report highlighting the very poor immigration outcomes for child victims which contributed to the debate on the Immigration Bill, which will have major consequences for trafficked and unaccompanied children. We also published a new report with the Independent Anti-slavery Commissioner looking at decision making for child victims of trafficking.

At the start of the year the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse published its report on the abuse of children abroad by UK nationals following evidence from ECPAT UK. It highlighted the need for a plan of action to protect children abroad and prosecute UK offenders. As we look to the new year we know we have more challenges ahead in this area, with uncertainties remaining around international cooperation on tackling child abuse and exploitation post-Brexit. We are also preparing for more immigration legislation, the review of the Human Rights Act, and the much awaited Online Harms legislationRest assured that with your support, we won't stop campaigning for the rights and protection of child victims of trafficking.

One of the more positive things that has emerged over the year is an outpouring of kindness and community. We end the year with our winter appeal raising money to bring festive joy to the young people we work with at this very difficult time. Our team have given careful thought to what each young person needs including items to help them stay warm, sleep and relax, explore their creativity and interests, read and enjoy – as well as some essential hygiene and food items. There is still time to give. 

This week we've also released our annual impact report for 2019-20. I hope you will be inspired by all that we're doing with your support and that you'll continue with us in 2021 and beyond.

All the very best to you and your loved ones from me and all the ECPAT UK team

Festive greetings e-card from ECPAT UK