February 19, 2014
The number of British children groomed and trafficked for sexual abuse by gangs has soared by 155 per cent, figures show.
In 2013, police identified 450 potential child victims who were either smuggled into the country or moved around by crime gangs, National Crime Agency data shows.
Of those, 56 were British children suspected of being trafficked for sexual exploitation – more than double the number in 2012.
The number of foreign children seen as at risk of sexual exploitation rose 11 per cent, to 88.
Another 123 minors were thought to have been brought to the UK for forced labour, often in nail bars and drugs farms, a quarter more than the previous year.
The report found that children from Vietnam were the most commonly targeted, followed by Albania and then the UK.
The number of suspected trafficking cases involving Britons rose by 173 per cent, with 27 adult and 63 child victims.
Forces have also seen a dramatic surge in modern slavery cases, with 141 adults and 45 children identified as potential victims last year.
The new figures, which emerged just hours after a British director called for modern slavery to be eradicated at the Baftas, indicate that domestic servitude cases are up 20 per cent.