A recent Guardian article has reported a very steep rise in child labour, slavery and exploitation.
In 2017, more than 5,000 potential victims of slavery and exploitation were reported to the UK authorities. This was the highest number ever reported in a single year in the UK.
Of these 5,000 potential victims, a staggering 41% of those reported were children under the age of 18. Most of these reports were connected to suspected drug trafficking or child sexual exploitation. Other reports included suspected forced labour and even suspected organ harvesting.
Victoria Atkins, the minister for crime, safeguarding and vulnerability, said, “We know there is more to do, and we are working to improve the system for identifying victims and supporting them to leave situations of exploitation and begin to recover and rebuild their lives.”
It is believed that the NCA’s wide reaching campaign against modern slavery and an increased public awareness of the signs of modern slavery have resulted in more people coming forward to the authorities with their suspicions.
Anyone who suspects that a child is a potential victim of child labour, exploitation or modern slavery is encouraged to make a report to http://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/.
The BBC has reported that the European Court of Justice has backed the UK government’s stance on the right that EU migrant children have to claim benefits.
The UK government argued that EU migrants in the UK who are not working should not be entitled to benefits if they did not have the right to stay in the UK. This view was supported by the European Court of Justice who ruled that the measure was lawful on the grounds of protecting public finances.
The European Court of Justice’s decision was met by differing reactions. Vote Leave, the official campaign for the UK to leave the European Union, argued that the UK should not have to seek verification of a domestic benefits policy by the European institutions and many backed the court’s decision.
On the other hand, many people believe that the UK government should be doing all that they can to help the migrants who come to the UK.
It is estimated that in the year ending 2015, total net migration to the UK was 330,000.
Europe is in the midst of a migration crisis. In 2015, over 350,000 Syrian nationals applied for refuge in the EU. The numbers seeking refugee status from Syria were almost double that of any other nation. The war in Syria is the main driving force behind this as people risk all to make the other life threatening journey to Europe.
Children and mothers with young babies are of particular concern. Many children travel alone and international aid organisations are worried about the safety and well being of these children once they reach Europe.
For this reason, many believe that the UK should be allowing more migrant children to come to the UK. Many people also believe that the UK should help to ensure the well being of economically inactive EU national families by allowing them to claim benefits.