Britain’s abuse shame: World child sex trafficking second only to Vietnam
The number of British-born children identified as targets for sexual abuse by traffickers more than doubled last year.
The National Crime Agency’s trafficking data shows a 155 per cent rise in under-18s identified as potential victims.
Out of 112 countries, British children were the nationality second most likely to be preyed upon, behind those in Vietnam.
The NCA identified 56 children targeted specifically for sexual exploitation last year – 50 were girls.
Chloe Setter, from ECPAT UK, which campaigns to end child sexual exploitation and trafficking, said two-thirds of all potential victims did not come to the attention of the authorities, so the scale of the problem was even more worrying.
‘There is a culture of disbelief in this country about trafficking but we need to wake up to it and the government must ensure its proposed modern slavery bill contains the tools to actually protect victims and prosecute offenders,’ she said.
The NCA said 1,746 people from 112 different countries were highlighted as potential victims of traffickers in 2013 – up almost 50 per cent in a year. Of those, 1,122 were women and 624 were men, while the cases involving Britons rose 173 per cent to 90 – with 63 of them children.
Home Office minister Karen Bradley admitted the figures were unlikely to show the full scale of modern slavery.
She added that the NCA had a co-ordinated strategy to target gangs of traffickers, and victims would be better protected.