Laura Sharman 12 August 2020

Framework for referring child victims of trafficking 'not working' warns commissioner

Framework for referring child victims of trafficking not working warns commissioner image

The National Referral Mechanism (NRM) for identifying child victims of trafficking is 'not working', the anti-slavery commissioner has warned.

Dame Sara Thornton, in partnership with ECPAT UK, has launched a review looking at what works in existing multi-agency decision making to help inform future pilots.

It found concerns about the quality of NRM decisions, a disconnect between the NRM and local safeguarding processes, and agencies still working in silo.

It calls for future pilots to consider a devolved NRM decision making model that is intrinsically linked to local safeguarding structures, and for sufficient funding for local safeguarding partnerships.

Dame Sara Thornton, independent anti-slavery commissioner, said: 'We have seen a dramatic rise of children identified as victims of modern slavery and trafficking over recent years, with 4,550 child potential victims referred into the NRM in 2019. I am deeply concerned that the current system is not working and that we are not providing the wrap-around care that young people desperately need.

'We need to look at this urgently to ensure we are supporting these children to a safer future, and preventing further harm and re-exploitation.'

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