To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to tackle the exploitation of children through domestic servitude, sex trading and drug trading; and what plans her Department has to bring forward proposals to strengthen protections for children.
This answer is the replacement for a previous holding answer.
24 June 2021
The Government recognises the devastating impact of exploitation on children. There are a number of ways that we are tackling these types of exploitation. The Modern Slavery Act 2015, gives law enforcement agencies the tools to tackle modern slavery, such as sex trafficking and domestic servitude, including maximum life sentences for perpetrators and enhanced protection for victims, including children.
Where children are found to be potential victims of human trafficking or modern slavery their safety and welfare are addressed as a priority. Local authorities are responsible for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all children in their area, including child victims of modern slavery.
In addition to this statutory support, the Government has rolled out Independent Child Trafficking Guardians (ICTGs) who provide an additional source of advice and support for all potentially trafficked children, irrespective of nationality. As of May 2021, ICTGs are available in two thirds of all local authorities across England and Wales.
The Government has announced its intention to review the 2014 Modern Slavery Strategy to consider how we can strengthen our approach. This will include considering what further measures can be put in place to reduce the risks of modern slavery exploitation to children.
On 20 January the Government announced £40m of dedicated investment for 2021/22 to tackle drugs supply and county lines, doubling our investment from last year. This includes funding for the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Orochi, which provides a dedicated taskforce to tackle county lines activity.
Since it was launched in November 2019, our County Lines Programme has already seen more than 780 lines closed, over 5,100 arrests, £2.9 million in cash and significant quantities of drugs seized, and more than 1,200 vulnerable people safeguarded.