This article explores the ways in which the highly emotive subject of child trafficking has been, and currently is, presented in the UK. It does so by examining the way the issue has been tackled at two moments in time: the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twenty-first century. We argue that, although the trafficking of children is clearly both undesirable and unacceptable, the reaction to this issue in the UK has been out of proportion to the problem itself. The reaction, we propose, is best understood as a moral panic that must be interrogated if we are to offer a helpful response to what is a serious social problem. A sense of historical perspective is, we believe, helpful in this regard.
- Child trafficking
- moral panic