84% rise in child trafficking in UK

The proportion of sexually exploited children in Britain who have been trafficked within the country is rising, a major charity warns.

Of 546 sexually exploited children who Barnardo’s worked with in September, the number known to be trafficked rose by 84%, from 76 to 140 year on year.

That equates to one in four in the UK, up from one in six in 2011, and rising to one in two in Wales.

The number of sexually exploited children known to Barnardo’s rose by 22% to 1,452 in the UK last year and 37% during the past three years.

Barnardo’s 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.

“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.”

The charity surveyed 23 of its specialist services, an annual report it compiles each year.

Barnardo’s service data also revealed that numbers of sexually exploited children helped by the charity rose by 377% in Wales, from 22 to 83, where the charity has become more active.