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 unaccompanied children at risk of trafficking in the UK.

Between 2017 and 2019, IOM implemented 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 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. Albanian and Vietnamese youth were consulted for the development of welcome leaflets about foster care, which were then translated to additional languages spoken by other unaccompanied children populations in care. These are available below.

The project evaluation report provides further details on lessons learned and recommendations for future projects. 

This project was funded by the UK Home Office Child Trafficking Protection Fund (CTPF).