Hidden children are migrants under 18-years-old who are separated from their usual carers and are exploited or otherwise mistreated by the people who are responsible for them in the UK. ‘Hidden’ is intended to refer to the unseen nature of the exploitation, the lack of awareness about these young people and the fact that exploiters deliberately act to keep them and their treatment hidden. Under the 2000 Palermo Protocol, these young people would usually be considered to have been trafficked to the UK to be exploited. Others may not have been brought to the UK to be exploited but later end up living in abusive private fostering arrangements.
Key research findings
Hidden children come from many countries and a wide range of backgrounds. Some enter the UK with or to join family members and some are trafficked clandestinely. Something that the young people in this research had in common was a lack of influence on the deci