Child trafficking Who is affected

Boys and girls of all ages are victims of trafficking. Children who have been trafficked may be from the UK or may have been moved from another country.

What puts children at risk of trafficking

Human trafficking happens due to:

  • inequalities between countries, such as different education or employment opportunities
  • poverty
  • the effects of war
  • demand for cheap or free labour or a workforce who can be easily controlled and forced into criminal activity
  • low levels of education
  • lack of equal opportunities, discrimination or marginalisation.

However, there are some issues that particularly affect children, such as:

  • ineffective or no child protection services
  • social customs like children being expected to respect and follow the adult in charge
  • failure to uphold children's rights.

This list has been compiled from the experiences of young people from our Child Trafficking Advice Centre (CTAC) advisory group, CTAC’s casework and research by Europol (2011).

How Childline can help

We understand how difficult it is for children to talk about child trafficking. Whether it's happening now or happened in the past, Childline can be contacted 24/7.

Calls to 0800 1111 are free and confidential. Children can also contact Childline online.

Gracie's story

Gracie tells how she was forced into sex work at age 11, then trafficked to the UK where later CTAC helped her claim asylum.
Read Gracie's story

Lam's story

Lam talks about how his desire to find employment in the UK was exploited by child traffickers, and how CTAC helped him.
Read Lam's story

Young girl smiling in a cafe

CTAC's Young People’s Advisory Group

The Young People’s Advisory Group helps young people’s voices to be heard. Find out more on joining the group:

information for young people (PDF)
information for professionals (PDF)

Further information and advice

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

Preventing child trafficking and modern slavery

How we can protect children and young people from child trafficking and modern slavery.

Protecting children from child trafficking

Helping children who have been trafficked

Find out how you can help protect children who have been trafficked or are at risk of child trafficking.

Keeping children safe from child trafficking

What you can do

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Work or volunteer with children and families?

Visit NSPCC Learning for information, resources and training to help you safeguard and protect children and young people across the UK.

Go to NSPCC Learning

Work or volunteer with children and families?

Visit NSPCC Learning for information, resources and training to help you safeguard and protect children and young people across the UK.

Go to NSPCC Learning