Practitioner Responses to Child Trafficking: Emerging Good Practice – Cumberland Lodge Report

Resource type: Report

Practitioner Responses to Child Trafficking: Emerging Good Practice Cumberland Lodge Report explores the role of practitioner evidence in responding to child exploitation in the UK. It looks at how such evidence affects the welfare of survivors, and how it determines policy and research. 

The report draws on the expertise and experience of a multi-sector delegation of practitioners, academics, policymakers, and survivors who attended a two-day conference in October 2021 hosted by Cumberland Lodge and the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner. An expert steering committee supported the conference. There was a call for evidence to inform the conference, which invited practitioners, academics, and policymakers to share promising practice in responses to child exploitation and trafficking. The conference incorporated the views and expertise of survivors. It explored how child safeguarding decisions are made in the best interests of the child and to facilitate their voice.

Read on screen

The Practitioner Responses to Child Trafficking report launched live from central London on 11 April 2022. You can find out more about the launch, and watch the on-demand video of the livestream here.


Please download your free copy of the Practitioner Responses to Child Trafficking report in PDF, below.


Recommendation 1:

For Government to recognise the structural harm and exclusion affecting Black, Asian and minority ethnic children in policy.

Recommendation 2:

Introduce training in cultural competency for all practitioners working on child trafficking and modern slavery.

  • Embed an external evaluation mechanism within all training to monitor impact and continually improve future training.

Recommendation 3:

Local Child Safeguarding Partnerships (England and Wales), Child Protection Committees (Scotland) and the Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland should ensure new practice and policies across all sectors are co-produced, where appropriate, with the children and survivors who are most affected by their implementation.

  • This involves working alongside young people and their families in the creation of both individual care plans and models of support.
  • Appropriately compensate victims and survivors for their time and energy.
  • Give further attention to skills training and development opportunities informed by survivors’ experiences and wishes.

Recommendation 4:

Build on the early success of contextual safeguarding pilots. Widely encourage a contextual safeguarding approach to child trafficking cases.

  • There is a need for the research team to embed within projects, to monitor progress effectively.
  • There is a pressing need for research briefings to inform the development of practical resources, sharing sector-wide best practice. An example of this is the safety maps tool.

Recommendation 5:

The IASC should support the development of a child trafficking and modern slavery ‘community of practice’. This would collate, share and evaluate up-to-date practitioner evidence across the sector.

  • This includes introducing a regular cross-sector conference to bring together key stakeholders. The conference must act as an accountability mechanism where practitioners regularly review the action within each sector, based on previous recommendations and discussions.
  • Practitioners and academics should give further attention to a public health approach and harm perspective, in addition to a criminal justice response.

Recommendation 6:

Create increased opportunities for professionals to participate in job shadowing, joint training and joint investigative training.

  • There is a need for regular visits to other agencies and organisations to learn from others working in the field, including hearing from more survivors and frontline practitioners.

Recommendation 7:

Consider serious case reviews as an opportunity for safeguarding partnerships to reflect on all cases, and in particular learning from, and sharing, good practice.

Recommendation 8:

Ensure child trafficking is reflected in the existing cross-Government strategic activity on extra-familial harm led by the Department for Education and the Department of Health and Social Care.

  • Co-produce it with survivors and stakeholders working closely with devolved agencies across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
  • Pay attention to the transition of child victims into adulthood, ensuring greater strategic focus.

Recommendation 9:

The Home Office should provide data on the ethnic backgrounds of those referred to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM).

Recommendation 10:

Local Child Safeguarding Partnerships and their equivalents in the Devolved Administrations should ensure training in delivering a consistent trauma-informed and empathetic response is implemented for all police officers and other front line practitioners dealing with victims of modern slavery.

  • The focus in the training should include survivor experiences and the child’s perspective.