Barnardo’s has reported a 54% increase in the number of sexually exploited children and young people it works with.
The children’s charity surveyed 27 of its specialist sexual exploitation services in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and found they had worked with 826 victims in September 2013.
This is 292 more children than in September 2012.
In response the charity has launched an emergency fundraising appeal to raise £2.8m to fund its support services for children who are victims of or at risk of sexual exploitation.
“No child should have to wait for help to get the support they need to break away from the individuals who perpetrate these appalling crimes,” said Sam Monaghan, director of children’s services at Barnardo’s.
“Our support workers tell us demand for our services is rapidly outstripping supply which is why we are appealing for donations to keep up with the increasing numbers of children and young people who need us now.”
In 2012/13, the charity worked with 1,940 children and young people who were being sexually exploited or were at risk of such abuse.