The Court of Appeal has ruled that the Home Office broke human rights law by failing to protect a child trafficking victim, who subsequently went missing. This ruling sends a clear message that we have a duty of care to vulnerable child refugees.
In 2015, British police discovered the minor from Vietnam, who is still missing. He was placed in immigration detention where no age assessment was completed and he was not recognised as a potential victim of trafficking. The case yet again highlights the unacceptable risks faced by migrants, particularly unaccompanied children. For some 300,000 unaccompanied child refugees, the risks of trafficking and forced prostitution or forced labour are extremely high. A recent report by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) found that more than 120 child refugees believed to be trafficked to the UK had gone missing in the year to November 2017.
Behind these shocking statistics are individuals motivated by a simple desire we can all identify with: to build a life where we can fulfil our potential, free from the threat of conflict, oppression, poverty and hunger. These statistics confirm why we should be working to ensure that there are accessible, legal pathways, which allow children to apply for asylum safely from the country they are in, and receive protection to ensure they aren’t trafficked or go missing.
Our latest report, Global People Movements, looks at what we can do to address these challenges, and provide better support for some of the world’s most vulnerable people. Every child deserves the opportunities to flourish in a safe and secure environment with their families. Being an open nation with a generous welcome for those in need of our shelter should mean there are no restrictions to these opportunities and that we do all we can to protect child refugees and see them reunited with their families.