Frank Field MP leads campaign to help young victims of modern slavery
Statutory provision for Independent Child Trafficking Advocates (ICTAs) was made in the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
Three years ago, the Government announced its commitment to a full national rollout of the ICTA service across England and Wales.
However, according to an independent report on the Modern Slavery Act report out today, the service is still only available in Greater Manchester, Hampshire, Wales, the East and West Midlands and Croydon.The review of the act was requested by Prime Minister Theresa May in an attempt to improve the workings of existing legislation.
The report - authored by Mr Field and fellow reviewers Maria Miller MP and Baroness Butler-Sloss - is the third of four interim reviews on the Modern Slavery Act, with the final report due to be handed to the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, at the end of this month.
It makes four recommendations:
- The ICTA service should be made available to young people up to 21 or 25 if they require it, rather than automatically coming to an end when they reach 18.
- ICTA provision should be available for longer than 18 months for those children that require support for a longer period.
- Cases of children supported by the ICTA service who go missing are kept open and active, rather than being closed after six months.
- As the service is established nationwide, ICTAS should receive high quality training and have their caseloads capped at a modest number so they can meet children face-to-face on a regular basis.
Frank Field said: "Many victims of human trafficking and modern slavery are children."As some of the most vulnerable people in our society, we must do all that is in our power to protect them.
"I hope, therefore, that the Government heeds a central recommendation of this report to roll out the Independent Child Trafficking Advocate service nationwide as a matter of urgency."Maria Miller MP said: "We were pleased to hear evidence about how effective the ICTA service has been in the local authorities where it has been trialled, and hope that our evidence-based recommendations will ensure this much-needed provision is of the highest quality so that the UK continues to lead the way in the fight against modern slavery."
Baroness Butler-Sloss said: "This interim report demonstrates the need for local authority services to be increasingly coordinated when it comes to serving victims of modern slavery.
"We were especially concerned to hear of the number of child victims who go missing while under the care of the ICTA service.
"It is a matter of grave importance that local authorities are proactive in monitoring these children so that they are not retrafficked."