Podcast: Child Trafficking Advice Centre

Last updated: 08 Apr 2019 Topics: Podcast Type: Podcast
Overview

Our CTAC team talks about providing a specialist service to professionals worried that a child may be a victim of trafficking

Established in 2007, the NSPCC’s Child Trafficking Advice Centre (CTAC) team provide free advice, training and guidance to professionals concerned that a child or young person has been, or is about to be, trafficked into or out of the UK.

In this podcast episode Ali talks to four members of the team: Mandy John-Baptiste, Service head of CTAC, Martina Murray, Assistant team manager, and Charlotte Jamieson and Sylvia Vuong who are social workers.

Mandy, Martina, Charlotte and Sylvia provide us with an overview of CTAC's work and explain why children and young people are trafficked and the ways in which they are exploited. They also discuss the “tricks” child traffickers employ to control and isolate children and young people and what professionals should do if they suspect a child might have been trafficked.

We hear about the child’s voice and the part this plays in shaping the essential service CTAC provides.


About the team

Mandy is the Service Head of CTAC and leads on CTAC's strategic partnerships with the Home Office Immigration Criminal Financial Investigation and Enforcement, National Crime Agency.

Martina, Assistant team manager, and Charlotte are qualified social workers and provide case consultation, advice and training to a range of professionals who come into contact with children where there is a concern for trafficking. Charlotte also leads on CTAC's work to improve cross border responses between the UK and Calais, France with Refugee Youth Service.

Sylvia is a social worker and led on CTAC's work to improve training with health professionals and developed a partnership with NHS Trusts to deliver modern slavery training to frontline health professionals in safeguarding trafficked children. 

Contact our specialist service

If you work with children or young people who may have been trafficked into the UK, contact our specialist service for information and advice.

Call us on 020 3772 9513 or email ctac@nspcc.org.uk.

Related resources

> Find out more about our Child Trafficking Advice Centre

> Find out more about protecting children from trafficking and modern slavery

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Our podcast series covers a range of child protection issues to inform, create debate and tell you about the work that we do to keep children safe. The child's voice is at the heart of every episode and what they tell us informs all of the work that we do. 

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Transcript

Podcast transcript 

Introduction:
Welcome to NSPCC learning a series of podcasts that cover a range of child protection issues to hopefully inform, create debate and tell you all about the work we do to keep children safe. At the heart of every podcast is the child's voice and how what they tell us informs the work we do.

Ali:
Hi. Thanks for downloading this NSPCC learning podcast. What you are about to listen to focuses on our child trafficking advice center, or CTAC for short. The NSPCC's multidisciplinary team, who provide free advice, guidance and training to professionals who are concerned that a child or young person has been, or is about to be, trafficked into, or out of, the UK. In this episode, we're given an overview of CTAC's work from the perspective of some of the team's social workers. I spoke to Mandy, Martina, Charlotte and Sylvia who told me why CTAC was established in 2007, why children and young people are trafficked and exploited, and ways in which they're exploited, we discussed the vulnerabilities of the children and young people and the tricks the traffickers employ to control and isolate. The team also talked about what to consider if you suspect a child might have been trafficked, and how they act as a support network for professionals. Finally, we hear about the child's voice and the part and this plays in shaping the essential service CTAC provides. I began by asking Mandy to give me an overview of CTAC's remit.

Mandy:
Our remit is to raise awareness, advise, and influence professionals. We were set up 11 years ago following a consultation that was carried out by the Home Office, with professionals across the United Kingdom, and they all said they wanted somewhere to call. So, people can call, or they can email, or we even will meet face to face, if that's what people require. And our role is to give advice, and influence, from a social work position, obviously, there are other people in the team, the police, as well as immigration, so, and we do that in a range of ways so we would do it via information on the Internet, we have leaflets that we've designed, according to what professional we're working with. We also have leaflets for young people. So, because we're a service just for professionals, it makes it a bit tricky because we all come from practice of doing direct work with children, so we don't want to kind of lose that, lose, you know, children having a voice in what we're doing, so we do have young people's participation groups and they are young people who've been trafficked so their role again is to help us, to give advice, and influence professionals. They will also do other things to raise awareness and influence and that will be, maybe, doing things such as...there's an art exhibition, they've designed leaflets, they deliver training with us. So, we do it in a range of ways to get the message out, basically, that child trafficking is child abuse.

Ali:
Absolutely. It's good to hear that the child's voice is absolutely the centre of everything you're doing, which is fantastic. Can you give us an indication about the prevalence of child trafficking?

Mandy:
I think it's like anything, isn't it? The more you, kind of, start focusing, the more you see. So, you know, like many years ago people were saying no it's not that many cases, maybe 300 cases in England, I mean when we first started off, but then the more you start delivering training the more you start getting people to understand these, particularly, you could look out for these signs or these particular children are vulnerable, then people start noticing more. So, there's been figures that are absolutely millions and billions, or there’s figures that are really tiny. So, it depends whose research you want to read or what journal. But for us, we only deal with, like I say, children that have been trafficked across borders, and we can only talk about the cases we have dealt with and that has been about two and a half thousand children now.

Ali:
And in the 11 years that CTAC has been in operation, has that remained pretty steady or has it ebbed and flowed?

Mandy:
Well, it does go up and down. Different parts of the year, it definitely sort of...what that's about, I do not know. It's not always to do with, 'there are more children being trafficked', it's more to do with, generally, professionals identifying.

Martina:
I think we find that, as well, when we're delivering training and start training, we ask everyone if they know they know about trafficking in cases and everyone says no, generally, or there will be one person, and then by the end of it they're all thinking about the cases that they have, and, they're like, 'actually I think this might be a child trafficking case but I didn't identify it until after the training'. So, we see that, I think, a lot in the training.

Ali:
So it could be that it's maybe, underreported in a sense, because people don't recognise the signs.

And you know, it's not something that was rolled out for us when we were in university, it wasn't something that was covered. So, it's not something that you're trained in, coming out into social work. And I think even, depending on what local authority you're working in, how much training or time you even have to attend training. So, if they do have the time to identify it as well, or even have time to see the podcasts that are out there, listening, so that they can understand more about it.

Charlotte:
I was just thinking about, for me personally, I was working as a social worker in London, and I was in an assessment team doing initial assessments, and I didn't know what child trafficking was. I had a case of a girl that was trafficked, and it wasn't until a senior member of staff said to me 'why didn't you contact the NSPCC's Child Trafficking Advice Centre', that I actually understood what trafficking was, what I needed to do, what the procedures were. Because it was a whole other world that no one had taught me about in my years of practice before that point, and so that's how I found out about the service as well. And before that I didn't have any of that knowledge.

Ali:
It's like that known unknowns, if you don't know what you're looking for you don't know whether it's out there.

Sylvia:
I also think that, you know, even after you do notice the risk indicators, what do you do after that? Who do you go to? What are the procedures to respond to a trafficked child?

Martina:
So we get a lot of social workers that will call us and be like, 'I've got a child trafficking case, I don't know what to do, how do I deal this?', and we quite clearly explain to them it's just the same as you would do with any child protection issue, just because a foreign national child, doesn't mean that's any different. You still look to your normal procedures. Kind of, really, the only additional thing would be the NRM, which is the National Referral Mechanism, to make sure that they are identified as a victim of trafficking.

Mandy:
And also, foreign national children, there's always the immigration issue, so that makes things a bit complicated. I think going back a bit, I think what makes it difficult for people to identify children that have been trafficked is that we haven't got a definition of it. So we have categories of abuse in the United Kingdom which is obviously sexual, neglect, emotional or physical and I remember, historically, that sexual was nothing to do with the Internet, was nothing to do with sexual exploitation, so I've seen that definition develop over the years and I think until trafficking is actually put into a definition for social workers, it needs to stem right from our practice and procedures and definitions to actually kind of give it the leverage that it needs. You know, like, we think of like forced marriage or female genital mutilation, they weren't things that people thought 'Oh, these are forms of abuse' years ago. And it's often put into the migration debate. This is the problem we see, or it's merged with adults. So, we're forever, as a team, trying to pull it back and actually say, 'no, this is child abuse', you know, 'this is to do with safeguarding children' all that sort of stuff, because often a lot of the forums that we are in, are around modern slavery, per se, and adults, more adult services, and it is usually embedded in immigration.

Martina:
I think as well, like, smuggling and trafficking is always one thing that comes up time after time again.

Sylvia:
I think it gets confused between the two.

Ali:
So, explain the nuances between the two...

Martina:
For child trafficking, it's the movement of a child for the purpose of exploitation, let's just simplify that.

Mandy:
And they can't give consent. So even though they could say, 'yeah I want to go' they might be 17 years old, 'yeah, I want to go', you can't give informed consent. Smuggling is much more about organising something, an adult will be organising something with somebody else, it's a totally different...it's an adult activity, it's not a child...so a child could be starting off smuggled, but then they end up being exploited or abused on the way. So it's got nothing to do with children. Smuggling is an adult thing. It's much more organised. But it doesn't mean to say, you know, it does mean to say, sorry, that children that are being smuggled are extremely vulnerable and exposed and generally end up being abused or trafficked.

Charlotte:
So that's something that I think is really key. So with smuggling you'll move from A to B, and when you get to B, the relationship should end with those people that have moved you. But just because people aren't seeing that that's trafficking, maybe exploitation hasn't happened, it doesn't mean that child isn't really vulnerable to being abused and sometimes it might be that people normalise that, that this is normal that children are being moved across borders. Actually, that's really risky and really dangerous. And these children are extremely vulnerable and it is child abuse.

Mandy:
It may present as smuggling because the child doesn't disclose something. Just like children have to be ready to be comfortable to disclose...

Sylvia:
I was just going to say that they could be exploited along the way while being smuggled as well, then it turns into trafficking.

Ali:
OK. So can you just give us some explanations about why children are trafficked? Big question I know...

Mandy:
The list is pretty long...

Martina:
It's adult gain, really, at the end of the day.

Sylvia:
I think it's just, you know, traffickers or perpetrators seeing children as commodities. You know, making a lot of money from them. I remember thinking about this example that we often give in training of, with drug trafficking, you traffic drugs once and you make money from that, and once-off that's it, but with a human, you can re-traffic them and re-abuse and re-exploit them over and over again you get a lot of money from that.

Mandy:
I think from the young people we've also worked with, they've often said to try and bring the other person's voice to this, this is not to my view but, young people would say it wouldn't matter what has changed, I would still do it again, you know, because the situation I was in, back in my country, you know, didn’t have no parents, war torn, no money, is going to be abused there anyway, so I might as well be abused here. Does that make sense? Some children have said that. If someone is offering you a better opportunity, you think actually you're going with that adult, because an adult has more wisdom, you think, and you're maybe coming from a community where you actually have a lot of respect for your elders, are you going to actually believe everything and you're going to go and you're looking forward to it, all the young people we've worked with have said, really looking forward to it, you know, because we've heard that the UK's paved with gold, so they're going to present at borders and ports, not looking distressed and they might have been given new clothes to make things, to groom them, you know, new hairdo... all sorts of stuff. So to bring a position on some young people, that would actually say, they would still soon be saying they would probably die and be abused there, or starve. So there's lots and lots of reasons, that was just one.

Charlotte:
I suppose from the other angle is that, in the UK, there are places that are willing to exploit children. So there are people that are sexually exploiting children, there's adults in this country that are doing that. There's adults that are benefiting from the labor exploitation of children. It could be, you know, they're making your Chinese takeaway behind the closed door, you don't know that...

Martina:
Getting your nails done...the nail bars...

Ali:
It was interesting, I chatted to you a couple of weeks ago and it's a comment you made about nail bars, people checking nail bars where there are children being trafficked, it never entered my mind.

Martina:
I think it's such a common thing and anything growing, trend, I definitely hear in the UK that more and more are getting their nails done and then you see more and more nail bars popping up, and it's always the Vietnamese communities that are running them.

Mandy:
Which is great business, but if you're a child, and you're meant to be at school, you’re not meant to be being exploited. The other big thing we used to have before that we have children now exploited for criminal activity, so historically, back in the day, predominately sexual, and we're not saying sexual doesn't happen, and we know that for a lot of children they may be being exploited in two or three ways, not just ever usually one, but then we see a lot of rise in children being used for criminal activities. Predominantly, that was for cultivating cannabis, and wherever we went across the UK, or even in Vietnam, doing the work there, people go 'no!'. Well, actually it's true. And like Charlotte was saying, it's actually because people want it. So, there was a documentary on television a couple of years ago that we actually grow, I think it was some huge figure like 90 odd percent of our own cannabis. Now when you think back in the day we used to import it, and that means, it's not, you know, 'we', I'm not saying us! It’s just children actually locked in houses and in establishments to cultivate cannabis. And they were ending up in prison because they would be the person at site when the police turn up, because they can detect it from the heat. So yeah. Huge amount of cannabis now being grown by Vietnamese children. I mean even that in itself, you just think 'what is all that about? Why are we bringing children, because somebody's organising that, you need interpreters, you need someone to sort out the rent, so it's all British, you know, involved in this because people always think 'Oh, well, it's over there', well actually no, it's somebody here that actually wants it and is benefiting from it. Why would it be children from Vietnam, when, I always use the expression, you know like loads of kids I know in East End might be poor, or would want to...do you know what I mean, but, it's going back to the historical sort of migration patterns, and things like that.

Martina:
I was going to say there's the vulnerability of them not knowing the systems in the UK, they don't speak the language, they're completely isolated. They only have these adults who are exploiting them, that's their only network, they're scared to do anything because they make so many threats against them and their family as well, so that control that they have, manipulation, I think is another huge thing right, their vulnerability.

Charlotte:
To the extent we've had young people referred to us and when they've been found to in an exploitative situation, they don't know which country they're in. So they're so controlled, so kept inside, and like Martina said, have no access to any services whatsoever. So how can we expect them to be able to go to a police officer if they don't even know that they're in the UK. And would they trust the police?

Sylvia:
And you know government systems are quite different in different countries. So they may not be aware that they can actually go to the police here. So, the police back in their home countries could be corrupt or could be quite different. So it's again that layer of, another layer of fear, you know stopping them from going for help.

Martina:
Just coming back to the types of exploitation, I know we spoke about nail bars, the other thing. I think it's good for people listening to consider is that it's not just one type of exploitation as well. So, if it's working in a nail bar during the day, and that would be labour, then at nighttime sometimes it'd be sexual exploitation or criminal exploitations as well. So it comes back to what Sylvia said is that trafficker is going to make as much money and profit out of that child as possible. So, I think that's good for listeners to consider that, it's never just one, and when you see them, or you come across a child who has been trafficked, don't think it's just what has happened to those probably other things that have gone on. They might not be ready to disclose that as well.

Ali:
So it's what you said before then, that the child is a commodity, and actually whatever you can get out of that commodity, you're going to.

Martina:
In the mind of a trafficker, I think sometimes, about how, what the child might have experienced as well.

Charlotte:
Sometimes we talk about the 'tricks of the trafficker', right, so, tricks of the trafficker might be how that child is controlled. So that could be through misusing and abusing cultural values, or it could be misusing religion to try and control a young person to think that they have no choice but to be in that situation. Sometimes it could be that young person feels like they owe money and they have no other option but to do these exploitative things.

Mandy:
Family debts.

Charlotte:
Very simply grooming. We always talk about grooming with sexual exploitation of children, but lots of trafficked children are groomed and when they're found, it may not be that that trafficked child says, 'yes, I am a victim', it could be that actually they think that the trafficker is doing what's best for them and they've been groomed to believe that that person loves them, or cares for them, or has their best interests at heart. So it's never as simple as being recovered, and saying 'I am a victim. Please help me'.

Martina:
And I think as Mandy said earlier they might be having a slightly better life in the UK here, then they maybe did experience there, so they're like, 'don't send me back to wherever I came from. They're kind of abusing me here but not...I don't want to go back to where I was as well'. So they might not want to be identified as a victim...

Mandy:
It's the hope, isn't it? I mean a lot of the young people are told, actually we're going to try and get you into a school, or we're going to train, and so they kind of keep being in that abusive situation still hoping that it's going to happen.

Ali:
That was going to ask actually, how isolated are these children? So I take it they don't have school places and they don't.

Mandy:
Well not all I'd say a lot of them don’t. Yeah but it's very hard to say no child is going to be in school because we have dealt with children who've been in school and their families might be exploiting them for something like benefits, to help their families, sorry the actual people. People think they're their families. So the child might have come, the family back home might have said ‘oh you're going to go with Auntie Delia, you're going to have education and going to have a better life. And you might have to do some jobs in the house or something else’, so they might do all that. And they're thinking actually I’m going to be going to school soon.

Sylvia:
But I think it's also important to acknowledge that family members can also traffic their own children. And we have seen, you know, maternal or paternal aunties or uncles traffic a child with a disability for benefit fraud.

Charlotte:
We've seen parents being totally involved in trafficking.

Mandy:
But generally I'd say this, if I was to make a generalisation, I don't know what you think, I'd say there's more people that are not parents, that doesn't mean to say… that's what Sylvia's trying to say, it's just like anyone's going abuse that child.

Ali:
Can we talk about the advice area, side of things, that CTAC does? So if there are social workers listening here, what kind of calls do you get? What kind of enquiries? What advice...I know this is going to be huge, but it can be like, what should social workers be looking for? What would raise an alarm? What concerns...you guys know what's being asked so can we move the discussion onto the advice side of things?

Charlotte:
I think that social workers should always be inquisitive when it comes to who children are with, and not making sure assumptions that people are family. If there are concerns that they're not family they should be wary to not suddenly, you know, be so sure that this is mum, this is dad, because maybe it's not. And we have had many a case where there has been an assumption that this is mum, this is dad, but actually it's turned out, those are the people exploiting children and they are not related at all.

Martina:
I think one of the big benefits for having the advice line is social workers just calling having a chat about it, because when you're in the social work field you're so overwhelmed with the many cases that have gone on, everyone's screaming and shouting at you, and you need to get, like, you need to get some of your reports done, having someone to kind of talk to on the phone and actually support you as well, and like, following up inquiries and everything like that, I think that's the biggest benefit to our team to offer social workers. Because you kind of take a bit of weight off them and be like, I'll put together, this is what it is, this is trafficking, this is the legislation and I'll back up your argument for you. I'm kind of offering that advice to them. I think that really supports and they appreciate that quite a lot. So sometimes it is just a call to be like, 'I don't know if this is trafficking, but I just wanted to speak to someone about it.' And it's not necessarily just social workers. We get foster carers, we get solicitors, police, any professions, different professions will call us up as well.

Sylvia:
We've also had social workers call us because they know that we are a multi -agency team. So they've been able to utilise our Home Office colleagues to get information from just one central database system. So we know that local authorities don't have that one system all across the UK. But the Home Office does. So what usually happens is if we do have enough details on that child we can always refer it to our Home Office colleagues who can then do a Home Office check and then that information can sometimes be very valuable for the social worker in safeguarding the trafficked child.

Obviously this podcast is specifically from a social work perspective, but we do have a National Crime Agency, we do have the Home Office within the team...

Mandy:
Because they do have safeguarding duties now, and responsibilities, they never used to have before, so we can come back to that afterwards but that's why we have them in the team because they do have responsibilities now. So which is a good thing for us. So even though they may be, you know, protecting our borders or preventing people to come, they actually do have responsibilities to safeguard children. They take that quite seriously actually, working with other agencies. I think the advice, going back to that question around, it could be like say giving guidance, giving like, whether it be legislation, what procedures they should follow, or like say, for dealing with a foreign national child, you may be dealing with the Embassies, if it's a European child, again, it's kind of different. So everything is a different advice according to what it would be. But obviously what we're doing is looking at it from a social worker and actually saying that this is lots of concerns here for this child, and it could be that actually it means a child protection response, according to what country it is in the United Kingdom, is about what advice they need to given, if it's a child protection response then it’s ABCD, and if it's a safeguarding, then trying to get more information about your assessment and stuff, and then what agencies you need to be working with to be able to kind of work together and that's when CTAC actually says, 'well if you need me, I'll even come along'. So again, you know it could be, you know, someone's got all the information, thanks, thanks for all the guidance you forward to them. A lot of, also, social workers might need to challenge their bosses and I think that's something I've seen a more bit of trend in recent years that actually they might feel concerned about something but their management has actually said, 'no, send them back' or whatever or we’re not going to give services here.

Martina:
For legal planning meetings, it's a big one to try and reach the threshold and I think that's something we kind of work on quite a lot, of like, building all the evidence to say this should meet the threshold for getting an ICO, which is your interim care order, for a child a real person. And then the other thing that we do, where we have done as well, is supporting letters for court as well. So we kind of give an expert report and kind of support going for an ICO as well, or getting a full care order, to protect that child.

Mandy:
Or even those reports can be for the immigration of that child as well to get them recognised as a child that's trafficked.

Charlotte:
So I think as well, advice to social workers that's really important is, when working with these children, foreign national children who might have been trafficked, is don't make any assumptions. So don't assume that they understand anything about the systems around them, and don't assume that they trust anything about systems around them, and you can't go into that situation and expect that a child is going to trust you just because you say you're a social worker. So, you need to build that trust with the young person and part of doing that is actually giving them the information so that they're empowered or as empowered as they can be, to understand that you should be able to trust the police in this country because their job here is to, you know, enforce the law, make sure that they are there for you if something goes wrong, you can call 999, by giving them that information it really helps. And we have leaflets that explain in child-friendly language what child trafficking is, what exploitation is, because these words mean nothing to children. They’re just these fancy professional terms. So actually explaining it to them in a language that they understand is really important. But also, to make sure that you're treating each child as an individual. So social workers might be seeing many Roma children, for example, being trafficked and they might think 'OK, it's a Roma child', so they will be believing this, this and this, or this is how they're going to act, or this is what's going to happen. But everyone's an individual and that child is an individual, and they will have individual experiences. So acknowledging that, and making sure that you actually work with that child to not make assumptions about their background, empowering them with knowledge and trying to work to get them into a position where they can trust the people around them.

Martina:
To add on to that and like, empowering them with knowledge, giving them the right information, making sure that, I don't know if you've already mentioned it, that that they know that foster care is free, and they don't have to pay for it here. So they're given clothes and food, and they're going to think 'oh my God, I'm not gonna be able to repay this debt', like if a trafficker did that to me, I'd have to repay him, or I'd have to do something. So they're going to feel that pressure, so even explaining simple things like that to them. Because the other thing that we come across a lot in this job is the rest of them go missing. And it's quite a high risk of, definitely Vietnamese children, that we would see gone missing. So when that social worker meets that child, there's so much that they have to do to try and build that relationship to reduce the risk of them going missing.

Charlotte:
When we say missing, we often think in our head of a child that is running away because it's fun, or they want to be naughty, but that's not the case. These children are being groomed, controlled, and re-trafficked. They're not choosing to leave. They have no choice. They feel like they don't have that choice. So it's a really high risk situation that they're in. And it's not as simple as many of the kind of classic missing cases you might come across, because you know if that child's already been exploited and trafficked then they're very vulnerable to being re-trafficked again.

Martina:
How you reassure them that they're going to be safe in that placement, and a trafficker doesn't know where they are, or that's going to find them or they don't need to pay or anything like that.

Ali:
And so how do you do that? I mean know, you know it's not just one conversation, and you know, magically children realise. It’s...how do you navigate that?

Martina:
Yeah, it can be quite difficult as well, because when you're taking a child into care, it's all very high pressure, there's lot of things you have to do in that time. And I think it's key taking time to sit down and explaining to that child or young person...

Sylvia:
I think it's sort of like working with any other child who's been through abuse, you know, building that trust and acknowledging that, yes, it will take some time because, you know, it has taken a while for that child to trust their trafficker, so what difference would that make? You know, us, as professionals, need to sort of use our own skills to build that trust with the child and then work from there.

Mandy:
It's also the placement, appropriate placement, for that child. I mean we've had children that have been put in bed and breakfasts’, which is totally inappropriate. We've had children that have been put in accommodation down the road from the brothel they've just been picked up in. I mean, common sense would tell you, you've actually got to put a bit of planning into it and those who are looking after that child, whatever the placement is, needs to also be given enough information about how to safeguard that child. It could be being much more vigilant. The child might not be having access to the Internet or something. So, it depends on every child's, like Charlotte said, every case, every child's got their own needs and it's about really thinking much wider than just the care of that child. It is much more about thinking about all the adults that could be abusing them. Because this is organised crime. And somebody's going to want that child from someone. So you've actually got to think of it. You've got to step back from it a bit and not get so focused on just the child, you've actually got to think about the wider network of it all. Whether it's the professionals you need to utilise, or the organised criminals, or people who actually want to do more to that child.

Martina:
We do have leaflets as well, in local languages as well, for young people to understand so that they can take that leaflet themselves, and after explaining it to them, they still have something in their own language that they can hold on to and keep that with, so they can read through that information.

Charlotte:
And we also have a kind of tick box checklists of information to minimise the risk of children going missing. So, things that are very simple like, registering Oyster card, so you could see the child's journey in the future. Not letting a child have extreme amounts of cash on them. We've had children, and social workers pulled up, and they've had thousands of pounds of cash on them and that's not being questioned. But obviously that makes a child very vulnerable, having that amount of money on them. So, sometimes it's the little practical things. If they're, you know, in a foster placement, don't put them in the bedroom next to the door that actually leads to outside, you know, those types of things, they're small but they could make a difference.

Ali:
We mentioned a little bit earlier on in the podcast that you have an advisory group of young people that have previously been trafficked.

Mandy:
We used to, yeah.

Ali:
Used to. Can we just discuss that little bit about how, did they help inform your work? So how does that work?

Mandy:
So they do a range of things, or they have done over the years, much more creative than what we could ever be, about how can you influence? They've done voice recordings for us to work in Ghana and Nigeria, Vietnam. They've done various things, if we're...actually done work in China, one of the young people came in and told us what to expect.

Ali:
So they really influence your work and help give you insights and...

Martina:
And delivering the training as well and safeguarding as well.

Charlotte:
Last year I did, I did a conference with one of the young people. And she spoke in front of 500 professionals, about her, about the group's experiences. It was really powerful.

Martina:
And I think professionals really like it. We could talk all day about it, but hearing it from young people, or just even in the DVD, that's always more powerful than anything that we would say because that's coming straight from them and that kind of thing.

Mandy:
It does take a lot of work, and I think, like I say, the group is pretty gone now. We've got to reassess as a team, what are we going to do, how are we going to do it, because it isn't just, I mean, people often think, 'oh we have young people's group, they come along and they will do it and they'll go home, goodbye and thank you,' and it's not like that. So you have to really, really keep in communication with them, which is the stuff I used to do before in the evenings, and other people in the team. It may be that you go with them to challenge their social worker, their housing, I've been with them giving birth, you know, making you name it, every single thing. So you've got to be, it's a bit like, it's unconditional what you're giving them, but actually, the key thing and the most important, thing is about what they give and trust. You've got to give, because they still need lots of support, they haven't got their family or support networks here, so you'll be, we do end up becoming, or we have become, especially the young people from 18 to 21, 22, like, you really are, might be the only person that they will come to you for references, applying for a job...

Martina:
So many challenges.

Charlotte:
Essays...

Mandy:
So you're all the things that maybe a parent would be, you know.

Ali:
Many thanks to Mandy, Martina, Charlotte and Sylvia for giving me their time to talk about the work of CTAC. For further advice, or information, relating to child trafficking, professionals can contact the NSPCC Child Trafficking Advice Centre on 020 3772 9513. Or email, ctac@nspcc.org.uk.

(Outro)

"Thank you for listening to this NSPCC learning podcast. If you're looking for more safeguarding and child protection training, information or resources please visit our professional’s website at NSPCC.org.uk/learning."