We note the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner’s statement and welcome the focus on the UK’s wider support for vulnerable refugee children and efforts to prevent human trafficking at source. We will continue to engage closely with the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner on these issues.
On 8 February, the Government announced that we will transfer the specified number of 350 children to the UK under section 67 of the Immigration Act. This number has been agreed following consultation with local authorities on their capacity to accommodate and care for unaccompanied children. We will announce in due course the basis on which further children will be transferred from Europe to the UK under section 67 of the Immigration Act to the specified number.
The Government is fully committed to the timely and efficient operation of the Dublin Regulation and supports the principle of family reunification. We are working closely with EU Member States to improve the Dublin process. We have secondees in France, Greece and Italy who are supporting work on Dublin and section 67.
The UK has established the £10 million Refugee Children’s Fund which is providing targeted support to meet the specific needs of unaccompanied and separated children migrating through Greece and other transit countries. The fund is providing additional and improved safe accommodation spaces for children, with 24hr care and specialist support. The fund also provides specialist training for officials and volunteers as well as legal support and advice.
We are working internationally to help prevent vulnerable people from becoming victims. The Prime Minister pledged £33.5m of official development assistance funding, to support victims and bring perpetrators to justice by working in partnership with key countries. The PM Taskforce is also making progress bringing the collective weight of Government to bear. We are already seeing progress in intelligence gathering and are developing our international strategy to tackle the threat overseas and deepen law enforcement cooperation. This will enable us to investigate, prosecute and otherwise disrupt the activity of slave-drivers and traffickers of human beings. We also work closely with Europol and Eurojust to facilitate cross-border operations and joint investigations with European law enforcement agencies.