Trafficked children are some of the most vulnerable in the UK

Traffickers force, coerce and manipulate children into sexual exploitation, labour exploitation, slavery, criminal activities and forced marriage.

Trafficking is the movement of a child to be exploited for somebody else’s gain.

These children are moved to the UK from many parts of the world. Some children are trafficked from around the UK. Some children are moved out of the UK. They are often moved away from their family and friends.

Trafficked children are usually too afraid to seek help and it is hard to remove them from the people exploiting them.

They need intensive support to end the trafficking cycles they find themselves in and recover from their experiences.

Distressed girl sitting outdoors

What we do to help

Barnardo’s is one of the few organisations in the UK to provide direct, specialist support to trafficked children.

We help these young victims cope with the practical and emotional traumas of being trafficked. Our specialist support workers help them to understand what is happening with social care services, the police and immigration – in ways that they can understand.

We run specialist Independent Child Trafficking Guardianship Service (ICTGS) services in Wales/Cymru, East Midlands, West Midlands Combined Authorities, Croydon, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and Greater Manchester that:

  • build trusting relationships with trafficked children to help them build a positive future
  • help children navigate the criminal justice, immigration and social care systems
  • give practical support, such as help with housing, medical needs and education
  • give emotional and psychological support
  • train professionals working with children so they can spot the signs of trafficking and know how to support trafficked children

Child victims of trafficking need specialist foster parents who have the skills and knowledge to help them overcome their trauma and keep them safe from traffickers. That's why we also run a specialist fostering service in the southeast that finds safe and loving homes for trafficked children.

Get help

If you suspect a child may be trafficked, call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 0800 012 1700. 

If the child is in immediate danger phone 999 immediately and let the operator know that there is a potential that they are a trafficked child. 

You should also make a safeguarding referral to your local authority.  Details of how to do this will be on your city, county or district council's website. 

If the child you are concerned about lives or has links to Wales, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, Greater Manchester, West Midlands, East Midlands or Croydon, please also fill in the ICTG trafficking referral form on the GOV.UK page on child trafficking advocates. You can also contact our 24/7 support line on 0800 043 4303 to talk through the concerns you have before putting in a referral.