Are you the missing ingredient?

My first personal interaction with trafficking was when I heard the story of a child I was working with in a Ukrainian orphanage – I am still in touch with him and from not a great start in life he is doing remarkably well, but I wouldn’t wish what he has had to battle through for any other child or young person, ever.

However we know in the UK alone 1,278 children and young people were identified as having been trafficked last year. That’s more than 3 children a day! The numbers reveal that this is an increasing phenomenon and over the last few years the numbers of children and young people identified has risen by over 30%. Frontline professionals, in law enforcement and social care, are getting better at identifying cases of trafficking, which is great, but the systems we have in place to offer effective support and protection once identified are non-existent.

Statistics indicate around 60% of trafficked children go missing from local authority care. The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre reported out of 942 trafficked children taken into care over the past three years, 301 went missing in the first 72 hours. A report authored by ECPAT and Missing People (November 2016) reported that trafficked children and unaccompanied child asylum seekers (UASC) are going missing from UK care homes at an ‘alarmingly’ high rate. Latest figures show 600 children disappeared last year with more than 200 of them still missing.

This isn’t good enough and shows that the current system is fundamentally failing these young people.

I am excited that at Unseen we have identified a solution to this gap in support provision and have worked with many partners to come up with a viable solution. The model we have designed has been a long time in conceptualisation and development but we are ready to rock and roll.

An amazing landlord has been located, the house is being renovated, security features being put in, funds secured to decorate and furnish the house, we have recruited the House Manager and will shortly have a support team in place. What we are missing and what we consider to be the vital ingredient are the right people to come and volunteer to be House Parents.

This role is a tough one but so important. At Unseen we know we can deliver the support people need, we can manage the risks and liaise with other agencies but we need a special couple, who are willing to come alongside these vulnerable young people and parent them – ensuring we offer a loving, caring, stable, supportive home for them to begin the journey of recovery.

It is an amazing opportunity, one that will require selflessness, a passion and drive to see restoration in young lives, a willingness to give up ‘normal’ life as you currently know it for a year, but I can guarantee it will be rewarding. You will be helping Unseen forge the way in the sector, providing a model of care and support that is so desperately needed and most importantly you will be building relationships and trust with some of the most broken and exploited individuals in our society. Will it be easy? Probably not. Will it be worth it? – most definitely.

If you are interested in this volunteer placement opportunity please click on the links below to learn more….feel free to share this far and wide.

Click here to find out how to apply!