A conference hosted by the Centre for Youth & Criminal Justice (CYCJ) will focus on the plight of children and young people who are victims of trafficking.
‘Child Trafficking: A Scottish Perspective’ will take place on Tuesday, October 29 at Glasgow’s National Youth Theatre.
It is estimated that 2,744 people, including 602 children, were potential victims of trafficking last year across the UK. Almost a third of the victims in Scotland suffered sexual exploitation, while others experienced labour exploitation and criminal exploitation.
Yet findings show that there is a low level of awareness, available intelligence and understanding about child trafficking in Scotland. This one day conference brings together experts to better understand the child trafficking scene by exploring the current Scottish experience, and highlighting some of the challenges and forthcoming legislation.
It follows the recent UK-wide summit aimed at tackling human trafficking, held at the Scottish Parliament on October 17.
Tam Baillie, Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People, will deliver the welcome address. He states:“Child trafficking is an international scandal. Its reach is global, including here in Scotland. That makes it our scandal, with all of the misery it brings to children, and it is happening right under our noses. We need to be able to better identify the signs, be prepared to ask the right questions and above all take preventative and protective action. The conference is about shining a light on this issue to improve our understanding and make Scotland a more hostile place for those who are involved in this exploitative practice.
Discussing these issues will be a line-up of speakers from across the UK, including Philip Ishola, Director of the Counter Human Trafficking Bureau.
An internationally renowned trafficking expert, Philip Ishola’s experience encompasses responsibility for countering trafficking, forced marriage and developing community based partnerships for vulnerable children from the UK and overseas. He is also a published author of several books, including the ‘Human Trafficking Handbook – Recognising Trafficking and Modern-Day Slavery in the UK’. He believes passionately in partnership building and collaborative working.
Philip will be joined by speakers from the Scottish Government, Legal Services Agency, Police Scotland, Aberlour Guardianship Project and Glasgow City Council. Beth Smith, Director for WithScotland, will chair the conference.
The day will culminate in a discussion panel, allowing delegates the opportunity for questions and exploration of further areas for training and support.
Claire Lightowler, Director of CYCJ, said: “Child trafficking is a major concern in Scotland but those working to support children and young people do not always recognise it or know how to respond. This event seeks to bring child trafficking to the attention of practitioners who may encounter it and share knowledge about successful ways of intervening. By working together to achieve a greater understanding of child trafficking in Scotland, we can help prevent more young people becoming victims of it.”
Pictured: Tam Baillie