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51 children potential victims of trafficking in EU-wide action

51 children and 72 adults were identified as potential victims of trafficking last month in a Europe-wide week of action involving 33 law enforcement agencies in the UK.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) coordinated the operation in the UK during which 44 people were arrested for a range of criminality, including rape of a child, sexual assault and modern slavery offences.

A further 41 suspects were arrested across Europe.

This activity, which took place between 2 – 8 July 2018, was undertaken under the banner of Project Aidant, the NCA-led law enforcement response to modern slavery and human trafficking.

64 potential victims were reported in the UK alone, 30 of whom were children. Four of the children were believed to be victims of labour exploitation, 13 involved in county lines activity and 12 were victims of sexual abuse and exploitation.

This phase of Aidant was part of a UK-led, Europol EMPACT initiative focused on trafficking in human beings, with a total of 22 member states taking part.

Adam Thompson from the NCA’s Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Unit said: “There are criminal networks operating throughout Europe involved in trafficking vulnerable children across continents and exploiting them for their own financial gain.

“Some of these children end up being exploited in, and trafficked around, the UK being sexually abused, used as cheap labour or forced into criminality.

“Working with our European partners is key to tackling this threat at the source, safeguarding victims and improving the intelligence picture, particularly around trafficking routes into the UK.

Anyone that suspects modern slavery is taking place can call their local police on 101 or the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700.


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