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What is child trafficking and slavery?

The common definition of trafficking can be broken down into three parts, movement and control for the purpose of exploitation:

  1. Movement: recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons.
  2. Control: threat, use of force, coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or vulnerability, or the giving of payments or benefits to a person in control of the victim.
  3. Purpose: exploitation of a person, which includes prostitution and other sexual exploitation, forced labour, slavery or similar practices, and the removal of organs.

Note that movement does not have to be across borders – internal trafficking also occurs.

Definition of child trafficking

Importantly, children cannot give consent to being exploited, even if they are aware or agree to being moved therefore the coercion or deception elements do not have to be present.

In cases involving children therefore the only elements that need to be present are:

Any child who is moved into a situation of exploitation, or for the purposes of exploitation, is considered to be a victim of trafficking whether or not they have been forced or deceived.

Slavery can be broken down into two parts:

  1. Means: the means by which a service is obtained, for example by threat, force, deception or abuse of power or vulnerability.
  2. Service: a service that is given for another’s benefit eg begging, sexual services, labour or domestic service.

There does not need to be a means used for children as they are not able to give informed consent. So child slavery has only one part – service.

Historic child exploitation cases

Where an adult was trafficked or a victim of modern slavery as a child, but only referred to the NRM as an adult, they will be assessed against the child criteria when deciding if they are a victim of trafficking or modern slavery. The only difference will be that as they are an adult at the time of the referral, they must consent to their case being referred to the NRM.



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