UK anti-slavery chief calls for child trafficking to be dealt with locally (Freedom United & Indipendent)

In an interview with The Independent this week, the UK’s anti-slavery commissioner called for an overhaul of Britain’s approach to child drug trafficking cases, citing “grave concerns” about the government’s ability to deal with a recent spike in cases.Dame Sara Thornton, who has held the post since May last year, argued that the government’s current system was failing the rising number of children and teenagers that are falling into coerced drug trafficking by “county lines” gangs—named for the way the gangs’ operations connect big cities to smaller towns.Over 2,000 potential child slavery victims were referred to the Home Office in the year lead, a 66 percent increase over the previous year. Experts believe county lines trafficking is behind the rise in cases.The solution, Dame Sara asserted, is to take the responsibility out of the hands of the Home Office—the UK’s interior ministry—and devolve it to local authorities, which she said were in a better position to provide victims with the necessary support.Local councils’ child services often already have familiarity with victims, which Dame Sara said made them better equipped to deal with cases than Home Office caseworkers making decisions “100 miles away.”