Almost 600 children disappeared last year with more than 200 still missing, according to government figures compiled by ECPAT UK and Missing People. The study will be presented to MPs in Parliament on Tuesday and found more than a quarter of all trafficked children in the UK care system went missing in the 12 months prior to September 2015.

The top three nationalities of missing trafficked children were Vietnamese, British and Albanian.
Pixabay.

It also found 593 unaccompanied children in the UK – 13 per cent of the total – disappeared at least once.

Chloe Setter, from ECPAT UK – a charity that campaigns against child trafficking – said the figures were a "national disgrace". She said the report had "unearthed an alarming trend of our most vulnerable children disappearing".

She added: "We must not accept this as a reality any longer. Every child that goes missing is a failure in our duty to protect them from harm."

Susannah Drury of Missing People said it was "vital" children who go missing were treated as "high risk by the police and other agencies and that finding them and making them safe is always prioritised over any questions about their immigration status or criminal activity".

Louise Gleich, senior human trafficking policy officer at the Christian charity CARE, said the figures were "hugely alarming" and highlighted "serious failures" in the system.

She told Christian Today: "As a priority, we must review how police, social workers and foster carers work together to ensure that child trafficking victims are protected and kept safe; this includes making sure they are placed in appropriate accommodation and working on faster responses to reporting missing children and making sure they are found.

"We also urge the government to speed up plans to roll out specialist independent child trafficking advocates – trials have shown that these advocates have played a key part in highlighting potential risks, pushing local authorities to provide safer accommodation, and tracing children who have gone missing."

A Department for Education spokesman said it had "already strengthened" regulations on children's homes and local authorities have "a duty to tell us about all incidents of young people going missing".

"But we know trafficked and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children are especially vulnerable.

"That's why we have commissioned specialist training for those caring for them, committed to an independent advocate in each area to help champion their rights and outlined clear plans for a new government strategy to look at their particular needs, including reviewing the accommodation available."

Source : http://www.christiantoday.com/article/hundreds.of.trafficked.children.go.missing.in.britain.each.year/100795.htm

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