Safeguarding Network

February 2024 - 3 minute read

Loved 0 times


The trade of humans for the purposes of forced labour, slavery or sexual exploitation is understood to be one of the fastest growing areas of both international and intranational criminal organisations, and has devastating effects on the victims.

Trafficking does not necessarily involve travel to another county or even long distance nationally. A child can be trafficked within their own area, especially in relation to child sexual exploitation and child criminal exploitation (including county lines). Exploitation can also include forced labour, domestic servitude or the removal of organs.

Need more?

Thank you for visiting our resources pages. These are free to everyone as is our fortnightly safeguarding bulletin – general safeguarding information is too important to restrict. Become a member to access lots more, including training materials for you to deliver in-house on each topic in Keeping Children Safe in Education.

Sign up for FREE fortnightly bulletin.

What about training?

We can deliver training for your setting on this and other subjects via online platforms, or face-to-face in certain areas. Just get in touch to discuss your requirements.

Definition of human trafficking

Human trafficking is “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.”

The Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings

Trafficking is exploitation

Trafficked children experience multiple forms of abuse and neglect.

Child trafficking differs from that of adults in that a child cannot give informed consent to his or her own exploitation, regardless of whether he or she seemingly agrees to travel or genuinely understands the situation. The elements of coercion or deception (means), do not need to be present to prove an offence although, in reality coercion and deception, etc., are likely to have been used to groom child victims.

The link below takes you to the Home Office guidance in relation to victims of modern slavery.

Additional vulnerabilities

Everyone can be vulnerable to being trafficked, however there are some children that we know are more likely to be trafficked than others:

Spot the signs

Many of the signs are similar to those we see in relation to any abusive situation, however some specific considerations are in relation to children who:

  • are not registered with a school or a GP practice​;
  • do not have any documents (or have falsified documents);
  • stay out overnight with no explanation;
  • are seen getting into unknown cars or taxis;
  • experience a breakdown of residential placements due to their behaviour;
  • have money or goods including mobile phones, drugs and alcohol that they cannot account for;
  • experience multiple sexually transmitted infections, miscarriages or terminations;
  • are self-harming;
  • misuse substances;
  • are involved in criminal activity;
  • spend a lot of time doing household chores, rarely leave their house, have no time for playing.

What to do

Many children are trafficked ‘in plain sight’ – e.g., perpetrators of sexual/criminal exploitation have been known to pick children up from their education settings during lunch break, returning them just before afternoon registration – yet still remain invisible in terms of help and support. Some children are hidden, never seen outside their home or workplace. Protecting them and promoting their welfare depends upon the awareness and co-operation of education settings, community groups and members of the public. Safeguarding trafficked children is very much everyone’s business and requires a community response, particularly in high-risk areas.

Create an environment based on equality and informed choice – help young people think about the issues and attitudes behind trafficking and modern slavery.

  • Be aware of the signs and effects.
  • Support pupils and families.
  • Sign-post to supportive services.
  • Any concerns should be raised with your designated safeguarding lead.

Ensure young people know the risks – talk about poverty at an age-appropriate level and have a safety plan to get help.

Check young people have safe relationships – in their family, with their peers and with your staff. Create the environment where it’s okay to talk even about the most difficult things.

Spot the signs and know what to do – use the checklists above, your safeguarding procedures and be confident in raising trafficking and modern slavery as a possibility. Refer to children’s services or the police as a ‘first responder’ and ensure they follow the National Referral Mechanism to assess next steps.

Take action – and keep taking action until you know children and young people are safe.

Free trafficking poster


Download our trafficking poster here:



To sign up to our monthly posters by post service, click below:


DSL Training Materials

  • Presentation

  • Presenter Notes

  • Handout for staff

  • Trafficking Quiz

  • Trafficking – Quiz (Answer Sheet)

  • Trafficking scenario – EYFS

  • Trafficking scenario (EYFS) – DSL Information sheet

  • Trafficking scenario – Primary school

  • Trafficking scenario (primary) – DSL Information sheet

  • Trafficking scenario – Secondary Schools

  • Trafficking scenario (secondary) – DSL Information sheet

  • Trafficking Scenario – 16+ / FE settings

  • Trafficking Scenario – 16+ / FE settings – DSL Information Sheet

  • Trafficking scenario (SEND focus) – DSL Information sheet

  • Trafficking scenario – SEND focus


  • SAVE ME film and facilitator handbook

  • Modern slavery awareness and victim identification guidance

  • Care of unaccompanied migrant children and child victims of modern slavery - Statutory Guidance

  • The Passage Modern Slavery Handbook

  • Modern slavery explained

  • Modern Slavery Act 2015 – Statutory Guidance for England and Wales

  • Video resources …

  • Modern slavery training: resource page

  • Types of Exploitation – Infographic

  • Signs of Exploitation – Infographic

  • Victim Vulnerabilities – Infographic

Save time and improve your safeguarding approach…

Bite-size training materials to share with your staff every month.

Support to explore and develop your safeguarding culture.

A huge array of resources and professional experience at your fingertips.

Get in touch now for a personal tour of the site and details of membership benefits.

Memberships start at just £99+VAT a term.

We look forward to working with you.