The report claimed that out of the 202 children trafficked so far this year; more than a quarter were intended for sexual exploitation. Most of these children were found to be between the ages of 14 to 16.
The report was based on data from the UK Human Trafficking Centre (UKHTC) and the NSPCC’s Child Trafficking Advice and Information Line (CTAIL).
It was claimed that children were also trafficked for domestic slavery and for fraud, whereby exploiters traffic children into private fostering arrangements in order to claim benefits.
Most of the children trafficked were from Africa, but there were also children originating in Asia, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, South America and the Caribbean. Most of the children from African were female and were sexually exploited; most of the children from Asia were male and trafficked for labour exploitation and to work on cannabis production farms.
The report claimed that from the children trafficked from Eastern Europe, nearly half were from Romania and trafficked for criminal activity such as pick pocketing and shoplifting.
CEOP said that the actual number of children trafficked into the UK was unknown since “by its nature, it is an often hidden and covert crime which is difficult to identify”.
Peter Davies, chief executive of CEOP, said: “Child traffickers constantly alter tactics to evade detection so regular assessments are important to identify new ways of entry into the UK, patterns of exploitation and victim experiences so that frontline agencies have the latest understanding.”
The NSPCC warned that trafficking is now “carried out like a military operation with victims being taken through several countries and passed along a line of criminal agents”.
“The gangs who bring these vulnerable children into the UK are highly organised and ruthless,” said John Cameron, head of the NSPCC’s helpline. “Even if the children are intercepted by the authorities and put into care they are frequently tracked down again by the people exploiting them and spirited away to a slave-like existence.”
Source: SOS Children’s Villages, Canada