Scotland Fails Child Trafficking Victims

A new reports revealed at least 80 children may have been trafficked into Scotland in 18 months without anyone being convicted for the crimes.

These children may have been sold, stolen, taken off the streets and transported thousands of miles.

And they may face sexual exploitation, forced labour, benefit fraud and domestic servitude.

These are the views of the report authors, Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People and the Centre for Rural Childhood at Perth College.

Tam Baillie, Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People said: ``When children are raped or exploited as slaves in households or businesses in Scotland it becomes our national scandal.

``When we fail to notice, fail to pick up the signs and fail to act on children's trauma, it demands action.

``I hope this report, the first of its kind in Scotland, will take the issue out into the open and result in action and change for child victims of trafficking.''

The report also reveals ``the poor response'' to the needs of children correctly identified as victims of trafficking.

The research revealed that awareness of child trafficking is low in Scotland and this lack of knowledge may have led to a significant number of cases remaining unidentified.

The Commissioner has made a series of recommendations for the UK Government, Scottish Government, local authorities, police forces and the UK Border Agency in Scotland.

As part of the research for the report, the views and experiences of 850 relevant professionals - from health workers and teachers to the police and voluntary organisations - were sought.

It showed awareness of the problem is highest in Scotland's cities, particularly in Glasgow.

Other key findings include the lack of sufficient prioritisation and resources from the police, resulting in traffickers not being prosecuted or convicted.

The experts also found that most professionals believe child trafficking is largely an urban problem that does not happen in rural communities.

According to the report recommendations, the Scottish Government must work with the police and local authorities to ensure that the investigation of child trafficking has sufficient resources, as well as funding awareness raising training.