An ‘important information’ leaflet providing essential guidance on protecting passports from traffickers will be issued to all new British passport holders from March.
Home Office said the leaflet prepared in collaboration with PACT (Parents and Abducted Children Together), will inform passport holders of the threat of traffickers and what they should do if their child is at risk of being abducted and taken overseas.
Home Secretary Theresa May said: “This initiative will not only raise awareness but also send a clear message that it is a criminal offence to take a child out of the country without appropriate consent.
“We also want to raise public understanding of the appalling crime of modern slavery and ensure that anyone who has been forced to surrender their passport knows where to turn.”
Passport holders will be warned that taking a child under the age of 16 out of the UK without appropriate consent is a criminal offence.
Lady Catherine Meyer CBE, Founder and Chief Executive of PACT, said the move was “a major step towards stamping out parental child abduction.”
“It will serve as a deterrent to any parent contemplating taking their child abroad without appropriate consent,” Ms Meyer said. “It will also raise awareness of a fast growing problem. With so much progress being made in other areas of child welfare, it is truly shocking that the number of international parental abduction is growing so fast. This initiative will help turn the tide.”