Being a parent or a guardian is not a nine to five job. Especially, when you’re a carer giving out of hours support to vulnerable trafficked young people.
Young trafficked survivors, like many children can require and need help 24/7, especially throughout lockdown. As recent shocking reports will tell you, the risk to young people’s mental health and well-being has never been greater.
But what do we mean by ‘out of hours’ support? And how can it help trafficked young people?
Being there for a young trafficked survivor as soon as possible, after rescue and offering out of hours support, is critical.
As sadly, the danger to a trafficked child does not end with rescue.
Therefore, our response to child trafficking needs to be robust and our actions, must be aimed at preventing the crime of child trafficking. But first and foremost, it needs to be about protecting young survivors.
And our response in providing holistic support has meant that, we have not lost contact with a single child.
So, what are we doing that works?
An integral part of protecting a trafficked young person and providing the correct provisions for their safety is our communication with local authorities and the police. As through this collaboration it can then be established if a child has potentially been trafficked, and if we can help.
Only then can our care team determine the most appropriate resource to offer a child.
Once a child is suspected as having been trafficked, a safety process needs to be put in place immediately. This is to ensure the child’s link with their trafficker is severed, and to avoid them not running back into their hands.
An essential part of our support is the delivery of our Immediate Safety Plan, and offering the necessary support required by the young person and carer during this process.
But the rescue of a vulnerable child can happen anytime of the day…or night.
In this kind of emergency our support workers are on hand to provide our ‘Rapid Response Out-of-Hours Placement Service’, (RRPS).
Our RRPS service provides short term accommodation options for unaccompanied children and suspected child victims of trafficking or modern slavery.
This can also mean where the age of a child is disputed the young person can then be referred into our provision, so that we can safeguard their needs pending the outcome of an age assessment.
Our support workers can then ensure that the appropriate protections are in place for the young person within any short-term emergency placements.
This is why our RRPS Service is available 24 hours a day, everyday.
When a young person has been rescued from exploitation, whether yet to be deemed trafficked, or not, they are nonetheless often traumatised and in fear. In this, our care workers expertise and experience are critical when delivering our holistic, child-centred support services.
This support means that a child can be protected as soon as possible and placed into a safe and secure family setting.
Supported Accommodation is staffed 24 hours a day by trained carers, experienced in looking after young people from abroad especially, where concerns regarding trafficking or modern slavery have been identified.
Delivering a safety plan and providing a safe space are the first steps to a young person’s recovery. Only in finding them a stable, medium long-term home, can we then start to work with a young person, at their own pace and help them recover.
Carers become a parent, their family support network allowing them to find that ‘normal’ again.
Normal can simply mean the daily tasks of registering young person with a local doctor, enrolling them in college or taking a trip to a museum. And essentially, allowing them to be a child again.
To have someone to be there to care, to listen when they want to talk and pick up the phone, whatever the hour. That’s what matters.
We build trust, security and reliability with the children and young people we support but are always looking for ways to learn and improve the care we provide.
But what we’re doing is working, vulnerable young people are being supported and in our care, we can see them start to grow and thrive.
When we asked a young survivor what does family look like? They replied.
“Family looks like a support worker who will be there for you and answer your call on a Saturday night, whatever the time.”
For more information, and to make a referral to Love146 UK, please scroll down the page and download the referral form and send to firstname.lastname@example.org