STAFF working in hotels, shops, and restaurants need help to
spot signs that children on their premises may be subject to
exploitation, grooming, and trafficking, the Children's Society
said this week.
In partnership with a charity tackling child sexual
exploitation, National Working Group, it has launched a campaign
pack, Say Something if You See Something, that contains
training materials. Besides helping employees in the hospitality
industry to spot signs of abuse, it will help employers to carry
out risk assessments, and vet staff.
The pack was launched on Tuesday at an event in Parliament
attended by the Home Office Minister Damien Green.
The chief executive of the Children's Society, Matthew Reed,
said: "Preventing child sexual exploitation is everybody's
business, not just the police or social workers'."
Also on Tuesday, Mr Green responded to an inquiry by the Home
Affairs Select Committee (HASC) on child sexual exploitation and
localised grooming. The committee's report, published in June,
identified "catastrophic multi-agency failures" in some local
authorities, and warned that "there are still places in the UK
where victims of child sexual exploitation are being failed by
On Tuesday, Mr Green said: "Since the HASC published its
inquiry, progress has been made. The police are more engaged,
aware, and determined to identify victims. In the past, all too
often, these crimes were largely hidden, and now child sexual
exploitation is rightly centre-stage as an issue we must tackle. We
will continue to work to ensure victims are not left to suffer in
silence, and ensure that those who exploit them are brought to
On Wednesday, the acting policy director at the Children's
Society, Ellen Broome, said that the Government had missed an
opportunity to "set out a concrete plan for how they will make sure
local agencies fully implement central guidance. . . Leaving it up
to local agencies has failed before, and more of the same is likely
to fail again."
The interim report of the Children's Commissioner's inquiry into
child sexual exploitation in gangs and groups, published last year,
includes a list of the places most frequently referred to as
locations of abuse by those who gave evidence. These included
parties, vehicles, private houses, and homes, but food outlets,
hotels, B&Bs, and shopping centres also featured.
Evidence submitted to the Children's Commissioner's inquiry
suggested that at least 16,500 children were at risk of sexual
exploitation in one year.
Home Office report published. Trafficked
children are being treated with suspicion and prejudice by
statutory agencies, and exposed to a variety of forms of
maltreatment, a report by the Refugee Council and Children's
Society, commissioned by the Home Office and published on Thursday,
Researchers interviewed 17 young people who were trafficked as
children, and had escaped. Three of them had been sent to adult
prison after being prosecuted for offences - including immigration
offences - committed while they were under the control of
The report concludes that there is an absence of understanding
of child trafficking at all levels in local authorities and within
other associated professions.
It is estimated that 2077 people were potential victims of
trafficking in the UK in 2011, of which 24 per cent were