Support for trafficked children and refugees

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, has granted funding to a Newport charity that supports vulnerable children and young people who have been trafficked into the UK, or arrived seeking asylum.

Newport is home to about one third of Wales’s unaccompanied asylum seeking children, many of whom are vulnerable to exploitation from criminal gangs.

The Sanctuary Project in Newport offers advice and support to refugees and asylum seekers living in the city, providing a safeguarding role and helping them to access services. It also helps to reduce social exclusion through volunteering, social activities and developing English language skills.

The funding from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner pays for a dedicated support worker to work with children and young adults.

Jeff Cuthbert said: “These are some of the most vulnerable children and young people in our community, many of whom have escaped war-torn countries or been trafficked into the UK to work for drug gangs.

“By offering them a range of practical and emotional support with a dedicated support worker, The Sanctuary is helping them to avoid potentially becoming involved with crime and to integrate with local residents, building a more cohesive community in the city.”

Mark Seymour, from the Sanctuary Project, said: “These young people may have escaped immediate danger but they still face many challenges. Without the right support many could be vulnerable to illegal working, involvement in the drugs trade or be attracted to extremism.

“We are grateful to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for granting us this funding. It will allow us to continue to support those in need, helping them to find accommodation, employment and stay in education.”