Child Trafficking Advice Centre (CTAC) Advice and support for professionals worried that a young person may be a victim of trafficking

The Child Trafficking Advice Centre (CTAC) provides free guidance and training to professionals concerned that a child or young person has been or is about to be trafficked into or out of the UK. We:

  • give advice by telephone and email to professionals
  • co-ordinate multi-agency responses, focused on protecting the child
  • deliver training and awareness-raising presentations in the UK and across the world
  • attend child protection meetings and produce child trafficking reports for courts
  • are a first responder for child referrals into the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) – a framework for identifying victims of human trafficking and ensuring they receive appropriate care

Providing specialist advice and knowledge

We provide advice to professionals and advocates where children are being moved across borders and there are safeguarding concerns for trafficking. 

We help employees working for organisations with safeguarding responsibilities who come into contact with children who may have been trafficked – such as UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI).

And we carry out training and share practice in countries that children are trafficked from to the UK.

We also have specialist knowledge about child social welfare laws and guidance, immigration legislation and policy changes and trafficking case law. Through our cases and work with young people, we’ve developed expertise which we apply to our work and use to help others. This not only includes detailed knowledge about the ways children are trafficked but also about disclosures. It’s always difficult for children and young people to tell someone about abuse, but foreign national children who have been trafficked can face extra difficulties – they may be alone, speak a different language or simply not know where to get help and support.

What is child trafficking

Find out what child trafficking is and how it happens
What is child trafficking?

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.

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

Who are we?

We're a multidisciplinary team of qualified social workers, a National Crime Agency (NCA)  liaison officer and a seconded immigration officer.

We're all accredited child protection trainers, OISE Immigration level 1 trained and have experience in both statutory and international work. The CTAC team has a range of other qualifications including international social work and refugee studies, women and child abuse, counselling skills, teaching, theology and psychosocial sciences.

Giving young people a voice

Young people have always been involved in the development and delivery of CTAC – ever since we started in 2007. We want them to have a voice in decisions and changes that may affect them and make a positive impact on policy and practice around child trafficking. So we work closely with a group of young people who were trafficked into the UK. They meet with us regularly to discuss issues and give advice, make recommendations and help with research. Along with the CTAC team, young people also deliver training and presentations to professionals.

What happens when you contact CTAC?

If you contact CTAC with a concern about a child or young person, a social worker will be allocated to the case and supervised by a manager. We'll ensure the child's case is monitored and work to achieve the best outcome for them. The social worker will be the child's advocate. They will:

  • refer to, and work with, other agencies
  • contribute to children's services assessments
  • make recommendations to child protection plans and pathway plans
  • advocate for the child at child protection meetings, reviews and court hearings and advise professionals
  • give expert witness reports at court if required.

When there are child protection concerns, our police officer will work with the social worker. They will refer and liaise with police and the NCA, contribute to child trafficking investigations and provide intelligence to prevent trafficking, protect children and prosecute offenders.

Project ICARUS

Project ICARUS (Improving Coordination and Accountability towards Romanian Unaccompanied minors' Safety) has been jointly delivered by CTAC and the Terre des hommes Foundation. The project is co-funded by the European Commission and has carried out a range of activities in Romania, Hungary and the UK involving social welfare, law enforcement, legal professionals and border force.

The project had three main objectives:

  • improve knowledge base of trafficking of vulnerable groups involved in child begging and other forms of labour exploitation
  • improve victim assistance and identification among practitioners who come into contact with victims or potential victims of trafficking
  • prevent child trafficking from Romania.

Throughout the project the CTAC team have worked on improving cross border collaboration between professionals in the UK and Romania.

Read our latest report, Free to move, invisible to Care, highlighting some of the issues faced by Romanian children as well as areas of improvement in our approach and systems.

Get in touch

We're here for you to talk through any concerns you may have for a child.

Phone us on 0808 800 5000 or email for information or advice.

Your donation can take a child anywhere

Our services help children and families who need support. With your help, we can make sure even more children are free from abuse and free to dream. 

Donate now

Working in partnership to help children

Logos of government agenciesWe work in partnership with a number of agencies and organisations including:

  • the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • the Home Office
  • the UK Human Trafficking Centre (UKHTC; part of the Organised Crime Command*)
  • the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP)*
  • UK Visas and Immigration

* Commands within the National Crime Agency

More about child trafficking

Child trafficking at a glance

Child trafficking is a type of abuse where children are recruited, moved or transported and then exploited, forced to work or sold.

Read more about child trafficking

Signs, symptoms and effects

Signs that a child has been trafficked may not be obvious – but you might notice unusual behaviour or events. 
Spotting signs of child trafficking

Who is affected

Boys and girls of all ages can be victims of child trafficking – find out more about what puts children at risk.
Who is affected by child trafficking

Research and resources

Research, reports and resources about child trafficking
Read more