Seven child trafficking victims in Scotland ‘vanish’ from council care

Human Trafficking Detective Sergant Robin Veitch
Human Trafficking Detective Sergant Robin Veitch
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7 children rescued from traffickers and placed in council care in Scotland between 2011-16 have gone missing and are feared to have fallen back into the hands of slave masters.

The report in The Times, obtained from a Freedom of Information request, states that many gangs are re-trafficking victims amid failings from local authorities

READ MORE: New map shows Scotland’s human trafficking hotspots

Across the UK, more than 150 Vietnamese minors have disappeared from care and foster homes since 2015 across the UK, with almost 90 others going missing temporarily.

The majority of those that went missing disappeared just two days after entering care.

Vietnamese and Albanian children were among the most common vulnerable children to go missing.

More than half of children trafficking in the past five years in Scotland were Vietnamese, with the majority going to ‘work’ in cannabis farms or the sex industry.

Baroness Butler-Sloss told the Times the FOI was ‘very disturbing’ but also stated that there were more at risk.

READ MORE: BBC probe reveals scale of human trafficking in Scotland

An FOI request to 430 authorities showed that 152 Vietnamese children went missing from 2015, with 88 going missing temporarily.

Scotland has become a more lucrative hub for trafficking criminals, with Trafficking Awareness Raising Alliance confirming that there has been an increase in the number of cases seen in Scotland.

Carolann Nesbitt said: “When first started in 2004 it was mostly African women and women from the Baltic states that were coming to us.

“Now the women are predominantly Vietnamese or Albanian.

“We have examples of women being prostituted at truck stops along the main roads in Scotland. Arrangements are also made for them to be taken to ‘out calls at hotels, saunas and brothels.”

James Simmonds-Read, of the Children’s Society, told the newspaper the children did not feel safe after being rescued.

He said: “We are not creating a culture where they feel safe, so children freak out and go missing and back to the people that trafficked and abused them.”

Helen Johnson, head of children’s services at the Refugee Council, added: “If children are treated with hostility, they’ll believe what traffickers tell them: that they won’t be helped or believed and that they are in debt.”

The Home Office said it was developing an independent advocate system to help councils support young trafficking victims, and added that it had placed a duty on councils to flag up cases of children disappearing from care.

Rochdale council said there was “no similarity” between the street grooming scandal and the issues surrounding missing Vietnamese children.