Eurostar trains move students, tourists, and holiday makers through Europe with ease. But unfortunately, the train system may also be used to move child slaves, especially through St. Pancras station.
Children 12-17 can travel unaccompanied on Eurostar, as long as they have a note from a parent or guardian. Plus, the success of the Operation Paladin police unit at Heathrow is forcing traffickers to switch routes, some of them as switching to rail. But unlike the highly-trained team at Heathrow, there's no one at St. Pancras or other Eurostar stations. That means Eurostar is an attractive option for traffickers who want to move children from the U.K. to the European continent.
Eurostar has claimed this is an issue for the UK Border authority, ad they cannot refuse a minor the right to travel if they present the company with the appropriate travel documents. But activists sat the company should do more.
Eurostar should train key staff at all its stations to recognise and assist child trafficking victims and help the home office indentify and arrest human traffickers.
Leading anti-trafficking organisation ECPAT-UK recently voiced their concern that child slaves are being trafficked through the U.K. and France via Eurostar trains.
Child trafficking is a serious problem here in Europe, where children are trafficked from all over the world for sexual exploitation and forced labor. As screening and security increases at airports, human traffickers turn to ground transport -- including high-speed rail -- to transport child slaves.
As a leading rail company, I'm asking you to create a comprehensive training program for staff at all Eurostar stations to help them identify and assist child trafficking victims. Providing such training could help Eurostar become a leader in the fight against child trafficking and protect U.K. children. This training should also include other forms of human trafficking, including the trafficking of men and women for forced labor or sexual exploitation.
I hope you will take this important step to prevent human trafficking.
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