Child trafficking Facts and statistics

We don’t know exactly how many children have been trafficked into or within the UK. Trafficking is a hidden crime and recorded statistics are almost certainly an under-estimate.

There are figures on charges, prosecutions and convictions for trafficking offences in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. However these are very low and don’t specify if the victims were adults or children.

These figures don’t include prosecutions for crime related to trafficking such as assisting unlawful immigration, false imprisonment, and causing, inciting or controlling prostitution for gain. Nor do they include international investigations where the perpetrators were prosecuted in another country.

1 in 5 victims of trafficking are children

Explanation: 3,309 potential victims of human trafficking were identified in 2014. 732 (22%) were aged under 18.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) collects information from a number of different agencies about potential victims of trafficking. Cases that meet specific criteria will be added to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM). The NRM was set up in 2009 as a process for identifying and supporting victims of trafficking.

These figures are likely to be under-estimates due to the difficulties in recognising and understanding that individuals have been victims of trafficking.

See also National Crime Agency (2015) National referral mechanism statistics: end of year summary 2014 (PDF) and Indicator 19 in How safe are our children? 2016.

Find out more about the National Referral Mechanism.

People

Over 700 children were identified as potential victims of trafficking last year

Explanation: 3,309 potential victims of human trafficking were identified in 2014. 732 (22%) were aged under 18.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) collects information from a number of different agencies about potential victims of trafficking. Cases that meet specific criteria will be added to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM). The NRM was set up in 2009 as a process for identifying and supporting victims of trafficking.

These figures are likely to be under-estimates due to the difficulties in recognising and understanding that individuals have been victims of trafficking.

See also National Crime Agency (2015) National referral mechanism statistics: end of year summary 2014 (PDF) and Indicator 19 in How safe are our children? 2016.

Find out more about the National Referral Mechanism.

The most common countries for children to be trafficked from are UK, Vietnam, Slovakia, Romania and Nigeria

 

Explanation: 3,309 potential victims of human trafficking were identified in 2014. 732 (22%) were aged under 18. The most prevalent countries of origin of child potential victims of trafficking were UK (16% of all children believed to have been trafficked), Vietnam (13%), Albania (11%), Slovakia (10%), Romania (7%) and Nigeria (6%).

The National Crime Agency (NCA) collects information from a number of different agencies about potential victims of trafficking. Cases that meet specific criteria will be added to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM). The NRM was set up in 2009 as a process for identifying and supporting victims of trafficking.

These figures are likely to be under-estimates due to the difficulties in recognising and understanding that individuals have been victims of trafficking.

See also National Crime Agency (2015) National referral mechanism statistics: end of year summary 2014 (PDF) and Indicator 19 in How safe are our children? 2016.

Find out more about the National Referral Mechanism.

illustration of umbrella

The most common reasons for children to be trafficked are sexual exploitation and criminal exploitation.

Explanation: 3,309 potential victims of human trafficking were identified in 2014. 732 (22%) were aged under 18. The most prevalent exploitation types for children believed to have been trafficked were sexual exploitation (32% of all children believed to have been trafficked) and criminal exploitation (19%). The exploitation type of 30% of children believed to have been trafficked was recorded as unknown.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) collects information from a number of different agencies about potential victims of trafficking. Cases that meet specific criteria will be added to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM). The NRM was set up in 2009 as a process for identifying and supporting victims of trafficking.

These figures are likely to be under-estimates due to the difficulties in recognising and understanding that individuals have been victims of trafficking.

See also National Crime Agency (2015) National referral mechanism statistics: end of year summary 2014 (PDF) and Indicator 19 in How safe are our children? 2016.

Find out more about the National Referral Mechanism.

People

We've dealt with over 1,300 cases of child trafficking since 2007

Explanation: Between November 2007 and October 2015 the NSPCC’s Child Trafficking Advice Centre (CTAC) dealt with 1,323 cases of child trafficking.

CTAC is a specialist service providing information and advice to any professional working with children or young people who may have been trafficked into the UK. Find out more about our Child Trafficking Advice Centre (CTAC).

See also Indicator 19 in How safe are our children? 2016.

More information and advice

Research and resources

Read our service evaluations, research reports, briefings and leaflets about child trafficking and modern slavery.

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Key legislation, policy and guidance for the UK and internationally about child trafficking and modern slavery.

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Child Trafficking Advice Centre

If you work with children or young people who may have been trafficked into the UK, contact our specialist service for information and advice.

Call us or email help@nspcc.org.uk for more information.

0808 800 5000

Find out more about CTAC

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