National Counter Trafficking Service

Independent child trafficking service (ICTA)

Hand on fence

Who are ICTAs?

Independent Child Trafficking Advocates (ICTAs) are specialist professionals who support children who have been identified as trafficked or potentially trafficked to navigate the complex systems of social care, immigration and criminal justice.

The ICTAs provision was trialled by Barnardo’s in 2014 -2015 and we have now established the ICTAs Service in three Early Adopter Sites across England and Wales, commissioned by the Home Office.

The role of and ICTA is outlined in s.48 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and within the following Home Office interim guidance 2017.

What do ICTAs do?

  • Support children to understand and navigate the complex systems of social care, immigration and criminal justice.
  • Enable children’s voices to be heard.
  • Ensure children are referred into the National Referral Mechanism.
  • Support in keeping children safe and work toward the prevention of re-trafficking.
  • Provide advocacy, guidance and signposting to relevant services.
  • Raise awareness and support professionals in their work with trafficked children.

Early Adopter Sites

All local authorities within Greater Manchester, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and Wales have been chosen to be early adopter sites of ICTAs.

This means that all children identified as potentially trafficked in those areas must be referred into Barnardo’s ICTAs Service and an ICTA will be allocated and make contact with the child within 24 hours.

All referrals to the ICTA Service should have also been referred into local Children’s Services.

Making a referral quickly after identification could support in reducing children going missing and being re-trafficked.

How to make a referral:

Check that the child/young person lives in, is supported by a local authority in one of the three Early Adopter Sites.

Call our 24/7 Support Line and we will support you to make the referral over the phone.


Send a completed referral form to our secure mailbox. The form is available in both English and Welsh.

Contact and referral details

24/7 referral and support line: 0800 043 4303

Email: secure inbox for CJSM compatible accounts only.

If you don't have access to a CJSM account, please ring the referral and support line. Independent Child Trafficking Advocacy is part of the National Counter Trafficking Service.  

Please e-mail for general enquiries about the ICTA or National Counter Trafficking Service.