Sunday, 30 October 2016

The trafficking of vulnerable children into Scotland is on the rise

"The trafficking of vulnerable children into Scotland has risen threefold since 2011, according to new figures. More than half of the 105 children who were found to have been trafficked in the past five years were Vietnamese, brought in to work on cannabis farms and in the sex industry."

"Seven of the children have since disappeared from care, thought to have been taken by their traffickers. One service provider said the figures were `just the tip of the iceberg`."

"Under the 1989 Children Act, it is a council's legal responsibility to care for under-18s who arrive in their local authority area from abroad, placing them into foster care or `semi-independent living` situations with funding from the Home Office."

"The Scottish Guardianship Services (SGS), funded by the Scottish government, then helps them to navigate the complex asylum, trafficking, and welfare processes...Many children who arrive in Scotland alone have come actively seeking asylum from conflict and persecution in their home countries."

"However, the latest figures from the SGS reveal that 40% of the 262 unaccompanied children it has registered since 2011 were brought to Scotland by traffickers...A Scottish government spokesman said: `Those who take part in the trafficking and exploitation of vulnerable people bring misery and long-term harm to their victims`."

"New legislation came into force this year that makes it more straightforward for our law enforcement agencies to take action. `However, we know legislation alone won't stop trafficking which is why we are working with others including Police Scotland and the Crown Office to raise awareness of these appalling crimes, and to identify perpetrators and disrupt their activity`..."

"But for the young Vietnamese in Scotland, their nightmare does not always end when they escape.

Seven children - all of them Vietnamese - have disappeared from council care since 2011, including 15-year-old Thang Van Bui, and are feared to be back with the gangs that trafficked them.

This is confusing. We are told that more than half of the 105 children were Vietnamese, brought into Scotland by their traffickers. What about the other half who were trafficked?  Do they include children who arrived alone seeking asylum? It is important to know how well these children are being taken care of once they get here.

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