Laws designed to protect children from sexual exploitation are failing, Barnardos warn in a report published today.
The charity said that the three new offences to target sexual exploitation introduced in the Sexual Offences Act 2003 seemed to have “just not succeeded in bringing more perpetrators to justice”.
In the report, Forgotten and Failed, it said there had been no prosecutions for the sexual grooming despite 425 offences being recorded in England and Wales.
And it said there were only 35 prosecutions recorded for ‘abusing children by prostitution’ between 2003 and the end of 2005.
The charity said recommendations made in a report on sexually exploited children in the London two years ago which suggested many as 1000 children were had not been taken up.
It said that although Metropolitan Police indicated at the time of the report that it would make an officer in every London borough responsible for sexually exploited children but had failed to do so.
The charity is calling for more resources to be made available for lead officers in every borough and mandatory training on sexual exploitation awareness for frontline staff.