Children’s charity Barnados says there has been a steep rise in the number of children trafficked and sexually exploited in the UK.
The number of sexually exploited children jumped by 22 per cent last year, to 1,452 – a rise of 37 per cent over the past three years.
Meanwhile, the number of the sexually trafficked children known to the charity rose leapt by 84 per cent, from 76 to 140 children.
Barnardos Chief Executive Anne Marie Carrie said:
“We are shocked at the rise in the number of children reporting they have been moved around the country by abusers. Domestic trafficking of children for sex is a sophisticated type of exploitation, a sinister form of organised violation through networks of criminals.”
She called on the government to take firmer action.
“Nobody currently knows the full extent of these crimes because of their hidden nature, but what we do know is that every time we open a new service for victims it quickly becomes fully subscribed. If we are to save children from suffering for years at the hands of their abusers, more must be done by the authorities to identify victims of child sexual exploitation who are being internally trafficked and to stop this activity earlier on.”