The protocol forms part of the effective action which the Welsh Government is taking with a wide range of agencies to ensure that Wales will not tolerate human trafficking in any form.
The protocol provides practice guidance to professionals and volunteers from all agencies to help enable them to effectively safeguard children who are abused and neglected by adults who traffic them into and within the UK for purposes of exploitation. This protocol will form part of the national child protection procedures which will ensure that all Local Safeguarding Children Boards are signed up to its principles and practices.
Reports by the Children’s Commissioner (‘Bordering on Concern’ published in March 2009’) and by National Assembly’s Cross Party Group on Human Trafficking (‘Knowing No Boundaries’ published in May 2010) highlighted the issue of human trafficking. Partly in response to these important publications, the Welsh Government asked the All Wales Child Protection Procedures Group to produce an all Wales protocol to ensure consistent and effective action to safeguard children.
The production of this protocol follows the appointment of Bob Tooby, the first All Wales anti-human trafficking co-ordinator, earlier this year. The co-ordinator’s role is to raise awareness of human trafficking to uncover the hidden problem and bring more traffickers to justice.
The Deputy Minister for Children and Social Services, Gwenda Thomas said:
“Child trafficking is a heinous crime that happens here in Wales. We must do all we can to ensure that Wales continues to be a hostile place to traffickers, and to recognise that internal trafficking is as likely as trafficking children from abroad.
“I welcome the publication of the All Wales Protocol on Child Trafficking as it recognises the importance of agencies, both statutory and voluntary in nature, working together to regularly monitor, report and share key information on trafficking. By standardising procedures and sharing intelligence across Wales we can help protect the child victims and prosecute the traffickers.
Carl Sargeant, the Minister for Local Government and Communities said:
“Human trafficking largely remains a hidden crime. Authorities often do not recognise the scale of the problem and victims do not always know where they can get help.
“The Welsh Government is committed to helping the victims of such crimes and supporting the authorities to bring those responsible to justice.
“The All Wales Protocol on Child Trafficking along with the appointment of Bob Tooby as the first All Wales anti-human trafficking co-ordinator, will raise awareness of the problem of human trafficking, bring more perpetrators to justice and improve the response that child victims receive.”