A law that makes it illegal for people to enter the UK without a valid passport should be repealed because it deters trafficking victims from identifying themselves, according to responses to a government consultation published yesterday.
The law, section 2 of the Asylum and Immigration Act 2004, acts as a “disincentive” for trafficking victims, said respondents to the Tackling Human Trafficking consultation, which was launched in January.
A government report on the responses, published this week, also said several organisations working in child protection disagreed with the consultation’s statement that there was “little demand” for trafficked minors for sexual exploitation.
There were also calls for the government to station police at all ports of entry into the UK with the specific objective of identifying trafficked children.
A Metropolitan Police team currently carries out this duty at London ports, including Heathrow airport. This was set up after the Met’s Operation Paladin Child identified large numbers of unaccompanied children entering the UK through Heathrow.
Respondents also said that children identified as victims of trafficking should be immediately taken to a place of safety and social services contacted.
The government said it would consider the responses and produce a final UK action plan later in the year.