More than 5,145 British children are being forced into modern slavery in the UK.
The number of children increase in child referrals was partly because of the growth of a drug supply route, known as “country lines”.
National Crime Agency (NCA) show the number of potential victims of slavery has increase by 35% to 5,145 from 2016, NCA believes that it will rise again.
The largest group were British citizens, followed by UK children accounted for 819 referrals, Albanian (777) and Vietnamese (739) nationals., (more than double the 326 referred in 2016).
This is where city-based gangs use young people to move drugs like heroin and crack cocaine to rural and coastal areas.
“They are enticed by wealth but quickly coerced by violence” said the NCA’s Deputy Director, Tom Dowdall.
Apart from sexual exploitation, children can be trafficked in many ways.
They are employed in illegal activities, such as:
- Working on cannabis farms and in street crime.
- They are used as accessories in benefit fraud — brought into the country and given false names, or simply exploited economically by their own families.
More then 2118 children 2,118 were referred for help, compared with 1,278 the previous year.