Girl gave evidence to committee despite still being ‘deeply traumatised’
CSJ report claims efforts to tackle slavery in a state of crisis
More than 1,000 adults and children trafficked into or within UK in 2011/12
By James Rush
A teenage girl was raped 90 times in one weekend it has been revealed, in a shocking report into modern-day slavery in the UK.
The report, due to be published tomorrow by the Centre for Social Justice, contains evidence from the girl, who was 16 at the time she was taken into slavery and raped by 90 men.
The girl, who gave evidence to the committee despite still being ‘deeply traumatised’ by the attacks, did not come from a background which put her at risk, but became enslaved after befriending girls vulnerable to abuse, it has been reported.
Andrew Wallis, chairman of the working group that produced the report, would only tell the committee the girl ‘is now safe’ when asked what had happened to her since the attacks, according to the Sunday Times.
The report claims efforts to tackle modern slavery in the UK, including the sexual exploitation of children, are in a state of crisis.
The CSJ, an independent think-tank set up by Iain Duncan Smith, has attacked the Government for its ‘inadequate response’ to the issue after the investigation uncovered a ‘shocking underworld’ of human trafficking.
Its study found more than 1,000 adults and children were trafficked into or within the UK in 2011/2012, but the figure could be ‘only the tip of the iceberg’.
Among the cases were British and foreign victims who had been forced into the sex trade, a life of crime or domestic labour.
British girls trafficked within Britain for the sex trade made up nearly one half of all UK slavery victims in the latest set of figures.
Christian Guy, managing director of the CSJ, said: ‘Our research has uncovered a shocking underworld in which children and adults, many of them UK citizens, have been forced into lives of utter degradation.
‘Yet the authorities are either failing to understand the nature of this abuse or turning a blind eye to its existence. Our once great nation of abolitionists is a shameful shadow of its former self.’
The think-tank is campaigning for a radical overhaul of measures to combat 21st century slavery, including bringing all human trafficking and modern slavery offences together.
The report is to be published by the independent think-tank the Centre for Social Justice, which was set up by Iain Duncan Smith
It added that victims should be encouraged to come forward without the threat of facing prosecution over immigration breaches or crimes they have committed since being trafficked.
More training is also needed to ensure police officers, immigration officials and social workers recognise the scale and nature of the problem.
ROCHDALE GROOMING GANG
Nine Muslim men were jailed last year for between four and 19 years for grooming young white girls in and around the town of Rochdale.
The men picked them up from the school gates and took them to houses and flats to be plied with alcohol and drugs before being passed around for sex.
Forty-seven children were identified as victims of the exploitation that left many of their lives in tatters.
The victims were vulnerable teenagers from deprived, dysfunctional backgrounds who were targeted in ‘honeypot locations’ where young people regularly congregated, such as takeaway food shops.
All the girls were coerced and bribed into keeping quiet about the abuse through a combination of free alcohol and drugs, food, small sums of money and other gifts.
Although some of the victims willingly had sex with their abusers, others were physically assaulted and raped by as many as five men at a time.
Mr Guy said: ‘We have been alarmed to learn that British children being trafficked within the country are often viewed as somehow being complicit in their exploitation. This is absurd and unacceptable.
‘Elements of control in these cases can be subtle and difficult to identify; this control frequently takes the form of sexual and other forms of violence, physical or emotional abuse, threats of violence towards family members or threats of public shaming.’
A spokeswoman for the Home Office said the Government has already made significant progress in fighting trafficking.
She said: ‘Human trafficking is abhorrent and the UK Government is committed to combating this crime in all its forms.
‘Investment in training for front line professionals to identify and refer victims, improvements in data collection, work with the private sector to protect workers and more personalised care and support for victims are already making a real difference.
‘But the Government is not complacent and we will continue to work to improve and strengthen our approach to keep pace with emerging threats.’