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.'