Increase in child trafficking cases coming to light

The number of cases of child trafficking in Scotland coming to light is on the increase, according to Scottish Refugee Council. The charity is calling for a greater awareness of the brutal reality, which sees children trafficked into Scotland every year for reasons including sexual exploitation, domestic servitude and forced labour.

The charity, which works with young unaccompanied asylum seekers, some of whom have been trafficked, is making a call ahead of a panel discussion on the issue at the Tron Theatre later this week.

The event – held at 9pm on Friday, November 5 at the Tron Theatre – is chaired by Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People, Tam Baillie alongside a panel of experts on trafficking from a UK and European perspective. It will take place after the performance of Roadkill, a moving piece of theatre about child trafficking based on real events.

Clare Tudor, Children’s Policy Officer for Scottish Refugee Council, said: “We are seeing an increase in the number of young people we work with coming forward to disclose that they have been trafficked. Very often they have been subjected to horrifying and systematic abuse and brutally exploited.

“This is still very much a hidden problem - we don’t have any hard figures on the number of children trafficked into Scotland -  but we believe that this increase is due to our growing understanding of the issues and the signs to look for.

“In addition the increased resources available to young people in the form of the Scottish Separated Children’s Guardianship Project, which works very closely with young asylum seekers in vulnerable situations, has been invaluable in providing a environment where they can disclose trafficking.

“We have been delighted to support Roadkill, which tragically tells a story that we know is all too real. We hope this event will also highlight that trafficking is something that is happening here and now in Scotland, and through raising awareness, help us tackle the root cause as well as support those affected.”

For more information or to arrange interviews or attend the panel debate please contact Karin Goodwin/Clare Harris, media officers on 0141 223 7927/07734 030 763

Notes to editors

  1. The Roadkill and Child Trafficking panel discussion will take place after the play Roadkill at the Tron Theatre on Friday, November 5 at 9pm.  The panel will consist of:
  • Cora Bissett, Director, Roadkill
  • Tam Baillie, Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People
  • Clare Tudor, Children’s Policy Officer, Scottish Refugee Council
  • Kirsty Thomson, Head Solicitor of Women & Children’s Unit in LSA
  • Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, OSCE Special Representative and Co-coordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings

Tickets are severely restricted so please confirm attendance in advance.

  1. Roadkill is produced by Ankur Productions and devised and directed by Cora Bissett. It opened to a sell-out run during Refugee Week 2010, won seven awards during its Edinburgh Festival run – also sold out and has now returned to its third sell-out run at the Tron Theatre. The site specific show, held in a Glasgow flat, is based on the experiences of young women who have been trafficked to Scotland and is supported by Scottish Refugee Council. See www.ankurproductions.org.uk for more details.
  2. Scottish Refugee Council an independent charity dedicated to providing advice and information to people seeking asylum and refugees living in Scotland. We work with young asylum seekers though the Scottish Separated Children’s Project Pilot, which is delivered by Aberlour Childcare Trust. The pilot project, which has been funded by the Big Lottery, Scottish Government, Princess Diana Fund and the Paul Hamlyn Trust for the next three years, is a UK first and aims to provide all young people going through the asylum system access to a Guardian within 48 hours of them coming to the attention of authorities.
  3. Scotland’s Commissioner for Children is currently conducting a scoping study on child trafficking in Scotland and is due to report in coming months. Currently we do not have any hard facts about the number of children who are trafficked into Scotland every year. However we do have growing reports of children working in the sex industry, in cannabis factories, domestic servitude, selling illegal merchandise or working in restaurants or other industries across Scotland.

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