A resource developed by ECPAT UK raises pupil’s awareness of child trafficking and invites them to make an informed decision about joining a campaign

What is ECPAT UK?

ECPAT UK stands for End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and the Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes. It is a leading children’s rights organisation campaigning against the commercial sexual exploitation of children in the UK and on its international aspects. In particular, it focuses on the protection of trafficked children and children exploited in tourism and the prevention of such crimes.

Yusuf’s story
Yusuf is from the Horn of Africa. When he was seven, he was adopted and for a while enjoyed living with his new family. But he couldn’t keep up with all the chores that his new mother wanted him to do. She accused Yusuf of stealing from her and they told Yusuf to leave.

Yusuf became a street child and earned money running errands. When he was 13, he met a man who promised to help him get an education. The man said that Yusuf would have to live abroad for a short time, but would be able to come back. The man took Yusuf to London where he introduced Yusuf to a white man and said that this man would be Yusuf’s new father.

Yusuf stayed with the white man for more than a month, but the man started to abuse him. Yusuf managed to run away. Someone found him and took him to an organisation that could help him.

ECPAT UK and World Vision UK have developed session plans and materials specifically for schools. The sessions were designed with the citizenship curriculum in mind. The activities provide a good opportunity for children and young people to use and further develop their knowledge of children’s rights by looking specifically into the issues facing child victims of trafficking in the UK and the violation of their rights caused by the actions of their traffickers but also by the lack of a supportive infrastructure in the UK.

As part of the three sessions, children are encouraged to make an informed decision about whether to support the ‘Three Small Steps’ campaign by sending letters to their MPs about the issued raised in the lessons.

The sessions include an assembly plan, lesson plans and a quiz about children’s rights.

  • The assembly plan aims to draw children’s attention to the issue of child trafficking and compare the lives of pupils with those of children and young people subjected to trafficking.
  • The lesson plan includes the use of case studies to help children draw out and discuss the plight of children who have been trafficked and to look at the needs of these children.

These teaching resources are very well put together and easy to follow. While ECPAT does not identify an age range of pupils for whom they are suitable, the content suggests they are suitable for all age groups in the secondary sector.

The assembly plan
The assembly plan starts with a mock auction. Children are asked to bid for an item, such as a bar of chocolate. The next item to be auctioned is a fun item belonging to a member of staff, eg ‘The pair of socks Mr Jones wore at last football match.’

A pre-arranged volunteer is then brought on. The attributes of the volunteer are described including what they can do that would be useful to the buyer, such as household tasks, etc. The idea is that children soon realise that the volunteer is up for sale. Children are not allowed to get to the stage of bidding for the volunteer – this is important, to prevent anyone feeling later that they participated in something dreadful (not the point of the exercise); thus, once they get the idea, the auction is stopped and the facilitator makes a statement about the plight of children and young people who are trafficked. (An appropriate statement is included in the plan.)

The mock auction is followed by a short drama that has two previously prepared volunteers acting out a piece that compares the life of a child who has been subjected to trafficking, with that of a child who has not, but who is having a bit of a conflict with a parent.

The assembly plan is powerful in content and teachers need to be aware that it might evoke strong feelings in pupils, so it is necessary to have a number of staff on hand to manage this. The assembly finishes with a short video made by UNICEF, introduced by Robbie Williams.

The lesson plan
The lesson plan should follow the assembly within a week. The objectives of the lesson are to:

  • introduce (or refresh) pupils’ knowledge of Parliament, government and the significance of civic participation, with a view to changing policy
  • give pupils the opportunity to practise their active citizenship.

The lesson includes case studies. The teacher reads a case, then asks children to work in small groups to discuss:

  • what emotions might this child be feeling?
  • what dangers might they face?
  • what support might they need?

Here is just one of the three case studies to show you the nature of these children’s stories.

The ECPAT resource pack includes a quiz that aims to help children learn about children’s rights and trafficking both on an international basis and internally.

Access these resources

We are unable to publish reader comments about individual child protection concerns on this website. If you are worried about a child please call the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000 for help and advice. Alternatively you can contact your Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) through your local council.