Mandy John Baptiste will be speaking on child trafficking and the importance of multi-agency working within and across borders at Community Care Live London 2016. Here she gives us some more details:
Why do you think this topic is important?
The Child Trafficking Advice Centre (CTAC) team only works with non UK nationals who are trafficked into the UK and sometimes children being taken out of the UK. Child trafficking has to be understood as a form of child abuse. This is very clearly stated in the government guidance and we know from having dealt with about 1500 cases that trafficked children are often subjected to physical, emotional, sexual abuse and neglect. This can happen during their recruitment and movement or if they are being exploited inside the UK’s borders. These child protection issues involve a lot of interface with immigration and crime and can confuse practitioners as it is a child protection issue but in a slightly unfamiliar context and these children are additionally vulnerable.
Multi-agency working both nationally and internationally is crucial to address this form of child abuse. We need to work with the agencies we are familiar with and also others like Immigration Officers who lead on safeguarding and UK staff based overseas in embassies as they can provide crucial information. We also want the Department for Work and Pensions to have a safeguarding responsibility as their input is crucial when children are exploited for benefit fraud.
What is your favourite thing about working in social care?
I have been practising for over 25 years, I enjoy working with different professionals. Over the years I have also done a lot of training and consultancy work in different countries. It is very enriching to see how professionals and communities deal with child protection issues and the different models of getting young people involved. There is some really good work in different parts of the world that we can learn from. We need new reactive approaches and to look beyond Eurocentric models of practice.
I have enjoyed developing the CTAC service, which has expanded from being a phone, myself, some young people and an administrator. We now have a multi-agency team with substantial international experience. Our staff include a National Crime Agency officer, an immigration officer with safeguarding responsibilities, an immigration officer to focus on traffickers, social workers with a lot of knowledge and a very vibrant young people’s group who are the real experts.