‘Government must invest in support for sexual exploitation victims,’ says Sarah Champion MP as Modern Slavery Helpline data shows 53 potential victims aged 15 or under in last year.

 Sarah Champion, MP for Rotherham and Chair of the APPG on Prostitution, responds to data released by the Modern Slavery Helpline on the extent and nature of sexual exploitation in the UK between July 2018 and July 2019:

 “This vital data highlights the horror of sexual exploitation in this country. While we have made great progress in identifying victims in recent years, it is important to remember they only represents a tiny portion of the girls actually victimised by pimps and traffickers in the UK.

 Shockingly, 19% of the potential victims identified were children, 53 of whom were aged 15 or under. We need to consider this an urgent child protection issue.

 Victims of sexual exploitation are groomed and trafficked under false pretences and then experience repeated rapes and are forced to perform sexual acts against their will. The data shows most that 81% of the abuse reported to the Modern Slavery Helpline is happening ‘off-street’, in people’s homes or in brothels.

 Women and girls are being kept as sex slaves in quiet streets up and down Britain. Of potential victims reported to the helpline, the vast majority are trafficked by pimps, but the second highest relationship to victim is their partner. This demonstrates that sexual exploitation can be a form of domestic abuse and should be recognised as such.

 We need far better support available to help victims exit sexual exploitation. Government has to take a lead on this by better recognising those at risk and investing in support to help victims rebuild their lives.

 The Government should also acknowledge that Britain is an attractive marketplace for pimps as we have laxer prostitution laws than surrounding countries like Sweden, France and Northern Ireland. The only way to address this is to reduce demand for sexual exploitation by criminalising the purchase of sex.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

 

Modern Slavery Helpline data:

https://www.modernslaveryhelpline.org/uploads/20190911091548157.pdf

 

About the Modern Slavery Helpline:

https://www.modernslaveryhelpline.org/about

Jim Pomeroy