Child protection charity Ecpat UK today revealed that there is widespread ignorance about child trafficking among Britons as it launched a campaign with The Body Shop to tackle the scourge.
A survey of 1255 people commissioned by the beauty company found a tenth of respondents did not believe child trafficking was happening in this country, while 34% believed that trafficked children ended up in foreign countries and not Great Britain.
This is despite a parallel report by Ecpat and The Body Shop identifying the UK as a destination and a hub for the transit of trafficked children, with children arriving from 52 different countries in a single year.
Illegal activities fuelling trade
Almost nine in ten respondents to the survey did not know that illegal activities including purchasing pirate DVDs or cannabis contributed to the child trafficking trade.
The campaign will particularly highlight the trafficking of children for sexual exploitation, which Ecpat said accounted for almost 80% of child trafficking globally.
The three-year Stop Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People campaign will seek to raise funds for Ecpat’s work to prevent child trafficking and lobby government to crack down harder on the trade.
Ecpat director Christine Beddoe said: “Child trafficking is not easy to spot and not easy to talk about. The fact that the majority of all global trafficking is for sexual exploitation has created a taboo. If we are all aware, then, we can help stop children falling through the cracks in society.”