Child Trafficking

Human trafficking involves men, women and children being recruited, given safe shelter or brought into a situation of exploitation through the use of violence, deception or coercion and forced to work against their will. It is a form of modern slavery.  It isn’t necessary for someone to have been moved across an international country border for them to be a victim. They can have been moved, given safe shelter and transported within the UK.


When children are trafficked, no violence, deception or coercion needs to be involved: simply bringing them into exploitative conditions means it is trafficking.

Trafficked people have little choice in what happens to them and often suffer abuse due to violence and threats made against them or their families. In effect, they become commodities owned by traffickers, used for profit.

People can be trafficked for many different forms of exploitation, including:

  • Sexual exploitation - includes the abuse of children for the production of child abuse images/videos. Take a look at our dedicated Child Sexual Exploitation section for further information.
  • Domestic servitude - involves a victim being forced to work in usually private households, usually performing domestic chores and childcare duties. Their freedom may be restricted and they may work long hours often for little or no pay, often sleeping where they work.
  • Forced labour - victims are forced to work long hours for little or no pay in poor conditions under verbal or physical threats of violence to them or their families. It occurs in various industries including construction, manufacturing, hospitality, food packaging, agriculture, maritime and beauty (nail bars). Often victims are housed together in one dwelling.
  • Criminal exploitation - exploitation of a person to commit a crime, such as pick-pocketing, shop-lifting, cannabis cultivation, drug trafficking and other similar activities that are subject to penalties and imply financial gain for the trafficker. 
  • Organ removal; forced begging; forced benefit fraud; forced marriage and illegal adoption.