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“Child trafficking must stop” Mulholland

June 27, 2014 4:44 PM

Greg Mulholland, MP for Leeds North West, has committed his support for trafficked children by supporting the UNICEF #StopChildTrafficking campaign.

Laura Linklater, a constituent in Leeds North West and a member of UNICEF Leeds, met with Greg to discuss the campaign and why it was crucial for him to lend his support.

UNICEF UK warns that potentially thousands more trafficked children remain unidentified in the UK, facing a life of violence, exploitation and abuse.

Laura and UNICEF feel that in its current form the Modern Slavery Bill does not include measures to provide greater protection for child victims of human trafficking. Specifically they feel that the Bill should have stronger measures such as:

  • Every unaccompanied child should have a legal guardian - someone who is there to look out for them, hold authorities to account and help children cope with any abuse they've experienced.
  • It's shameful that trafficked children are prosecuted for crimes they have been forced to commit. The law must be changed to protect them.
  • Very few child traffickers are ever held to account under current laws. There needs to be a specific offence for child trafficking and exploitation, to ensure those responsible are prosecuted.

Even when trafficked children are identified they remain vulnerable and separated from their families. They face frightening interviews with various authorities and don't always receive the protection they need. 3 out 4 of those polled said that giving these children a legal guardian was the "right thing to do".

Commenting, Greg said:

"The trafficking of children is an appalling crime and I was horrified to learn that at least 10 children are trafficked every week in the UK. This is wholly unacceptable. We need to stop the trafficking of children for good and I was proud to offer my support to Laura and UNICEF."

"The Modern Slavery Bill has the opportunity to transform the lives of trafficked children by making sure they are protected by law. I have written to the Home Secretary, Theresa May, and have asked that the Bill includes stronger measures to protect children and even stronger penalties for those trafficking them."

Commenting, Laura Linklater said:

"I wanted to raise the issue of child trafficking with my MP as it is a horrific yet largely hidden crime in the UK. UNICEF UK say at least 10 children are trafficked every week in this country and potentially thousands more remain unidentified, facing a life of violence, exploitation and abuse.

"I welcome the government's leadership in bringing forward The Modern Slavery Bill and I'd like to see the Home Secretary Theresa May put children at the heart of the Bill by giving them a legal guardian - someone who can assist them to get the help they need."