Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children are among the groups most vulnerable to trafficking and modern slavery. In the United Kingdom, 41 per cent of all referrals to the UK’s National Referral Mechanism (NRM) were individuals exploited as children according to the National Crime Agency. Albanian and Vietnamese children are two of the most common nationalities of asylum-seeking children at risk of trafficking in the UK.
In March 2017, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) launched the “Strengthening Responses to Child Trafficking and Modern Slavery” pilot project in the London Borough of Croydon, one of the UK’s local authorities looking after the highest number of unaccompanied children and those identified as potential victims of modern slavery. The project has supported foster carers in Croydon to reduce the risk of trafficking and modern slavery for these children.
Under the pilot project, over 100 foster carers attended trainings and forums to increase their knowledge, confidence and capacity. Together with Barnardo’s, one of the UK’s leading children’s charities, IOM also created culturally sensitive information materials in seven languages which were distributed to more than 260 unaccompanied children (as of December 2018) to improve their placement experience and reduce risks of re-trafficking. The project’s closing event was held on 26 February 2019.
More information about the project can be found here. The project evaluation report presented at the final event is available here.