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PANORAMA -------

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Post  zannie on Mon Aug 11, 2008 6:06 am

Panorama Thursday 27th March 2008

A traumatic account of sexual exploitation of young girls in the UK,
details from a former victim brave enough to speak up.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Child sex trade revealed
Ian Wylie
23/ 3/2008


BRITAIN’S evil child sex trade is revealed in a shocking new TV documentary. Children as young as 12 are being lured into a life of prostitution, drugs and violence, in some cases by ruthless organised criminal gangs.

The BBC1 Panorama probe, to be screened next week, was filmed in the north west and other parts of the country. Producer Liz Bloor told the MEN: “We found evidence of girls in Manchester being groomed for sex – a number of cases.”

The government estimates that some 5000 British children are being used as prostitutes – beaten, abused and trafficked around the country.

But few victims, often in fear of violence against their families, feel able to go to the police in what is largely a hidden crime.

Alcohol

Young girls are typically lured into the trade by older boys who may buy them alcohol and cannabis. One teenager tells the documentary: “The grooming starts when you meet them and they’re nice to you and take you for McDonalds and buy you cigarettes. I was flattered by it at first because older boys were interested in me, which at 13 is nice.”

She ended up being taken miles from her home and put into a flat where she was made to have sex with a succession of men.

When the girl tried to leave, the gang involved threatened to firebomb her home and gang-rape her mother. Girls are handed up to older men who move them on to heroin and crack cocaine, all the while building up the girls’ supposed “debt” which they must pay off.

Trapped into the sex trade, the youngsters feel they have nowhere to turn and cannot escape. The programme also highlights the fact that many adult women prostitutes were sexually exploited as children.

Mohammed Shafiq of the Rochdale-based Ramadhan Foundation says drug dealers know they can make large sums of money from the “evil trade” and calls for action to be taken against the criminals involved.

Exploited

Prof David Barrett of the University of Bedfordshire is a recognised international authority on young people who are sexually exploited through the sex industry.

He tells the TV investigation: “There is no doubt in my mind that it is orchestrated in some parts of the country, some of the time, by criminal networks.”

Experts are now demanding that the government and police do more to crack down on the child sex trade. Greater Manchester Police is one of only two police forces to have dedicated child sexual exploitation teams.

The Home Office says the pimping of children will be covered in new police targets, with a warning video to be sent out to all schools.

*Panorama: Teenage Sex For Sale is screened on BBC1 at 10.35pm on Thursday.
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