Tip of the iceberg

It is very worrying indeed that social services are unable to find
12 children who may well have been brought to this country by child
traffickers for a life of domestic slavery, sexploitation or worse.
And we’re talking about just one three-month period at a single
point of entry – Heathrow. What about the other airports and, above
all, sea ports – traffickers’ favourite method of entering Britain.

Because, by its very nature, child trafficking is a hidden problem
the numbers that show up in surveys are always going to be an

In this study more than 1,700 children were found to be travelling
without a parent or legal guardian. If the address offered proved
correct the authorities were satisfied the child was not a victim
of trafficking.

But how can they be sure? Child exploitation is a long-term
business trading in very frightened individuals who are not likely
to open up to strangers calling at the door to check if they are
fine. Operation Paladin Child has shown us the tip of the iceberg
and we need to keep probing to see what’s under the surface.
Efforts to combat this evil trade should cover all our airports and
ports – not just a couple of them.

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