New data on children in need reveals the scale of criminal and sexual exploitation of children – so why does the Government see modern slavery as an issue for illegal immigration?
More than 10,000 children were identified by English councils as being victims of child criminal exploitation in the past year – with a further 16,330 children identified as potential victims of child sexual exploitation and 2,740 potential trafficking victims. But charities warn this figure could be the tip of the iceberg.
For the first time, councils have been required to record the number of cases where criminal exploitation was identified as a factor in assessments after a child is referred to social care. It found that 10,140 children were being groomed and exploited into criminal activity, including county lines drug dealing, car theft, shoplifting and more serious, violent offences.