The Metropolitan Police will form a team to identify child
trafficking and provide child protection advice to staff at London
transit centres writes Amy
The Ports Safeguarding Team is the result of a study, Operation
Paladin Child, which examined the migration of children into the UK
through Heathrow Airport.
The team will provide specialist child protection advice and
support to officials at London Heathrow Airport, London Waterloo
Eurostar and Lunar House Asylum Screening Unit in Croydon.
It will be led by a detective inspector and staffed with three
police officers and two specialist analysts from the Child
Operation Paladin Child, which ran for three months between August
and November 2003, identified 1,738 children from non-EU countries
traveling without their parents or legal guardians.
The Paladin team faxed details of 551 of these children to social
services for follow up enquiries. Social workers then visited the
addresses given for the children to ensure there were no child
protection concerns. Although the process has resulted in three
children being placed on the child protection register, the study
found no evidence that significant numbers of children were victims
of trafficking. Social services were unable to locate 12 of the
children due to false addresses being given.
Plans for the development of a new risk assessment process to
ensure children are going to safe environments were among the
Operation’s recommendations to the government.