The current trial taking place in Manchester of nine men sentenced for charges including rape, sexual assault and trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation is bringing mainstream news attention to the issue of internal trafficking.
Due to the ethnicity of the perpetrators and the victims this case is entwined in debates around whether there is a racial element to this crime. It is important to get a true understanding of why this is happening, as this is the best way to identify real prevention methods. An interesting documentary that investigates this issue is Dispatches Britain’s Sex Gangs http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/episode-guide/series-105/episode-1
Our focus is on the crime itself, the grooming, movement and sexual exploitation of young people; what we call internal trafficking. Although there is little profile in the media about this issue, this is not an isolated case, in June 2011 the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) produced an assessment of what they described as ‘localised grooming’ of young people for sexual exploitation, identifying 2,083 child victims.
In January, when Sophie Hayes was interviewed live on This Morning talking from personal experience about being groomed and trafficked to Italy for sexual exploitation we received a number of calls from concerned Mum’s. They could directly identify with the situation; our callers were seeing the same thing happening or starting to happen to their daughters.
You might also be concerned about someone, it might not be your daughter or son- it could be a friend, a sibling, or maybe a pupil in your class. If you think someone you know maybe being groomed here are some of the common indicators to look out for:
- A young person is befriended by an older man or group of older men, one of whom becomes their ‘boyfriend’
- The older man is very flattering and buys presents such as a mobile phone
- They are introduced to alcohol or drugs
- The man begins to exert control over them
- They are forced to perform sexual favours to their boyfriend and his friends
- They disappears and returns after varying lengths of time
- They relationship with family, guardians and friends gradually declines
It might be that this is happening to you, a situation you thought was good seems to be turning bad. If you are worried about yourself or concerned about someone else so you can seek help here:
MET police anti-trafficking helpline: 0800 783 2589
Coalition for the Removal of Pimping (CROP) http://www.cropuk.org.uk/
SPOT THE TRAFFIK flexi card http://www.stopthetraffik.org/downloads/flexicard_download.pdf