Child safety top of the agenda in Durham

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A MAJOR conference on child sexual exploitation and trafficking is taking place in the region today.

Several high-profile organisations, including Barnardo’s North East, have come together at the Durham Centre, Belmont Industrial Estate, Durham City.

The aim is to share and highlight good work in recognition, detection and prevention of child trafficking and sexual exploitation, and to look at all agencies working together to safeguard young people.

Although not all trafficked children are sexually exploited, recent data from the Home Office found that sexual exploitation, domestic servitude and forced labour were the most common forms of abuse of the 287 child victims identified as being trafficked in the UK.

Key themes are that children who are sexually exploited are not being given enough protection, as child protection thresholds are set so high in many local authorities.

The keynote speech from Sheila Taylor, director of the National Working Group for sexual exploitation, will be about how some councils do not recognise sexual exploitation in their areas, and may not have anyone working with private or third sector organisations, such as Barnardo’s, to identify the risks posed to children.