New rules to prevent child trafficking and stop unaccompanied children visiting the UK from being abused have been introduced by the government this week.
Unaccompanied children will have to demonstrate adequate arrangements for their care in the UK and identify a person from their home country who is responsible for them, before receiving clearance to enter the country. Those not travelling alone will have to travel with an identified adult.
Immigration minister Tony McNulty told parliament that children were previously able to enter the UK with an adult who was unrelated to them or with whom they had little connection.
He said that this led to some children being brought over to facilitate fraud and in some cases suffer serious physical harm. He added that it was also difficult to trace them.