Reports of sexual and criminal exploitation have risen alarmingly during the pandemic, according to new data measuring the scale of modern slavery and trafficking in the UK.
Cases of sexual exploitation, which includes people held captive in brothels and coerced into prostitution, rose by a quarter in 2020 compared with the previous year. Nearly a quarter of cases involved children.
Criminal exploitation, which includes forced shoplifting and forced begging, increased by 42%, with a fifth of potential victims said to be minors. Dozens of cases referred to drugs-related activity involving county lines gangs, where youngsters are used to transporting narcotics and money.
Analysis from the annual assessment of the modern slavery helpline indicates that more children are involved in slavery than ever before.
The statistics, which incorporate data for every police area of the UK, are used to shed light on the dynamics and extent of modern slavery.
The original full article can be found at theguardian.com