Stolen futures –report from ECPAT

ECPAT just recently launched the report, Stolen Futures: Trafficking for Forced Child Marriage in the UK, which focuses on forced child marriage,. According to the UN Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery 1956, forced marriage and child marriage are a form of slavery.

In the report they cite 48 documented cases of trafficking for forced marriage and cases where there were strong suspicious of forced marriage. Many of the victims are trafficked abroad, but a large amount of the cases were found within the UK. The report aims to: “Explore the concept of exploitation and how this is related to the experiences of children and young people forced into marriage”. However, as there is precious little information available on forced and child marriage, ECPAT have done some incredible work!

The aim of the report is to contribute towards a better understanding of what forced marriage is and how it manifests itself in UK society and to educate professionals, teachers, social workers, on the indicators of forced marriage, in order to more successfully identify cases. In this way, ECPAT hope to end forced marriage and child trafficking. This report shows that there is a big gap of knowledge about this specific topic.

I read the report several times, thinking that we are going in the right direction of filling the gap of knowledge in any kind of human trafficking issue but I discovered that we still have a long way to go! Although, we are definitely on the right path, filling the gaps with knowledge and building up a society which is cooperating and working together.

In the report, ECPAT has interviewed people from a variety of professional backgrounds, including the social service, NGOs, central government, police, criminal and Justice System, this diversity of input really shows in the report . The report shows that the emigration law has to be improved, that people are afraid to act on suspected cases due to a lack of knowledge, that human rights issues could be a cause or consequence in to another issue.

I can’t help thinking that this issue as much as any other human rights issue could be prevented if we, the NGO, governmentally institutions, teacher etc could come together. We will be able to save so many more souls than ever! So the good news is that we really are in the right direction!

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