20 Child trafficking and sexual exploitation
What the Committee said:
"The Committee recommends that the State party… establish mechanisms for monitoring the number of cases and the extent of violence, sexual abuse, neglect, maltreatment or exploitation, including within the family, in schools and in institutional or other care.
The Committee recommends that the State party intensify its efforts to collect data on the extent of sexual exploitation and abuse of children, essential to prepare adequate responses and combat these phenomena... The State party should always consider, both in legislation and in practice, children victims of these criminal practices, including child prostitution, exclusively as victims in need of recovery and reintegration and not as offenders. The Committee also recommends that the State party ratify the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse.
The Committee recommends that the State party provide the necessary resources for an effective implementation of the Anti-trafficking Action Plan. It also recommends that the State party ratify the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings and implement its obligations by ensuring that child protection standards for trafficked children meet international standards."
Progress to date
- The Scottish Government has been working with local authorities to improve the way information is recorded in relation to the abuse, neglect and exploitation of children. This information should be available for the first time in the 2011-12 Child Protection Statistics, due for publication in February 2013.
- The Scottish Government's revised 'National Guidance for Child Protection' (published in December 2010) contains a dedicated section on child trafficking, which places child trafficking firmly within child protection practices. Local agencies should have protocols on child trafficking in place and all staff should be aware of these protocols.
- Other issues connected to child sexual exploitation such as online safety, runaways, systematic and complex abuse, forced marriage as well as child trafficking are covered separately, and in significant detail, in the National Guidance for Child Protection. The Guidance is to be reviewed in 2012 and it is expected that the sections on child sexual exploitation will be further strengthened during this process.
- The Scottish Government has recently commissioned the University of Bedfordshire to examine the extent and nature of child sexual exploitation in Scotland. The Scottish study will bring together all the information on the scale and scope of child sexual exploitation for the first time in Scotland. The final report is due to be published this summer.
- Training and awareness raising for staff are primarily matters for the agencies concerned. Through its current work with Child Protection Committees, the Scottish Government plans to work with practitioners to explore any further action needed to strengthen skills and awareness of child trafficking and child sexual exploitation within Scotland.