With more on this story, Sputnik spoke to Debbie Beadle from End Child Prostitution and Trafficking.
Sputnik: Thousands of children being trafficked to Britain from Vietnam are being abused and exploited while travelling through Europe with European governments passing the buck for their protection. How significant is this revelation?
Debbie: What we've discovered in our research is that many of these people are being trafficked across Europe, and a lot of them into the UK and first of all the, there are vulnerabilities in Vietnam has forced them to migrate or potentially take job offers or the chance of a better life and other countries, which they are then tricked and deceived into other forms of exploitation.
So they're going on long journeys across Europe that involve flying or in the back of lawyers often long journeys on foot. What we've seen is not only are they potentially been trafficked into exploitation, they also explosive along the way. Many of the countries because they're there with regular status, for instance, there then exploited in different types of criminality or forced labour; for instance, cannabis cultivation, or involved in meth production, also community nail bars and other sorts of forced labour.
One of the biggest highlights we've seen as well in regards to children is that children firstly, they're just not being identified, so we're seeing them over in the UK, but they're not necessarily being identified across Europe. Those that are identified by authorities are just going missing from care. One of the biggest things that we've seen is really from many European governments is seen as an issue that should be dealt with by UK authorities for instance — so they're almost passing the buck. They're not necessarily putting measures in place to identify and safeguard these vulnerable Vietnamese people crossing your Europe.
Sputnik: What should European governments be doing as well as British authorities from not only protecting these individuals, but also making sure that their legacy in the UK is one that's a positive one?
Debbie: So, what we've seen across Europe and the UK is that there's limited training. What really needs to happen is there needs to be a big commitment to ensure that all frontline practitioners are trained to be able to identify and support victims and protect them.
So they're not ending up in these vulnerable situations. There also needs to be a commitment to resourcing it — the need to resources put into these issues, like I said, to identify and protect victims, and also communications… There needs to be cooperation, communication across governments across countries. We're seeing when they potentially are picked up in one country, and then go missing, that information isn't necessarily being shared.
Sputnik: Could this problem be exacerbated after Brexit — after Britain leave the European Union? Could we still see many of these individuals essentially being trafficked and taken advantage of once Britain leaves the EU the European Union?
Debbie: One of the fears is that UK, the maybe result of Brexit, is that it may affect our cooperation with other EU countries. At the moment you have things like Europol and different EU agreements and information sharing processes which may be affected after Brexit. Obviously, we're not going to know the extent of it until after Brexit, but that's definitely one of our concerns that may impact on you know protecting vulnerable victims.
Sputnik: If any listeners are listening to this, who feel like they may have been exploited through one way or another, through their terms of work; what advice would you give to them to try and will ratify this problem?
Debbie: Well, human trafficking is a crime so it should be in a place to be recognised and the government should be recognising it. What we really see want to see though is that you know, it's up to the responsibility of the professionals and the governments to put in place measures says that they are they're being able to identify these vulnerable victims. Many people aren't going to come forward because of fear of reprisals from governments but also their traffickers so it's really up to frontline professionals to make sure they're seeing the signs, identifying victims and being able to protect them.
The views and opinions expressed by the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.