Home Office has chosen children’s charity Barnardo’s to deliver trials of new specialist child advocates for victims of child trafficking, Modern Slavery Minister Karen Bradley has said.
Under the Home Office funded scheme, child victims will be allocated a specialist advocate trained in the unique needs facing these children. The advocates will provide each child with a single point of contact to guide them through children’s services and the criminal justice and immigration systems.
This new network of support will be trialled across 23 local authorities in England from mid-August.
"Child victims of trafficking are a particularly vulnerable group in need of individually tailored support. Specialist advocates will help give these children a voice and ensure they receive the protection they need and deserve,” Ms Bradley said. “Barnardo’s strong track record of supporting children makes them ideally qualified to deliver these trials which we intend to run alongside the passage of the Modern Slavery Bill. Giving child victims of trafficking the help and protection they need should not have to wait for legislation if there are practical steps we can take now.”
As part of the trial the charity will also deliver a dedicated network of volunteers to work alongside the specialist advocates and assist with lower level support, a 24-hour helpline for children and professionals looking for immediate support from the service and bespoke training for local professionals.
“Barnardo’s is delighted to have been chosen to deliver the child advocacy scheme,” Barnardo’s CEO Javed Khan said. “It will help provide support to exceptionally vulnerable children so they don’t have to journey alone through our complicated legal systems. Instead they will now have an expert advocate with them every step of the way.”