London, Jan 17 (ANI): A survey has found that trafficking of British children around UK cities for sexual exploitation is on the rise with some as young as 10 being groomed by predatory abusers.
According to the report by Barnardo's, the biggest children's charity in UK, the average age of victims of such abuse has fallen from 15 to about 13 in five years.
Anne Marie Carrie, the charity's new chief executive, says the victims continue to be missed as telltale signs are overlooked "from the frontline of children's services to the corridors of Whitehall".
"Wherever we have looked for exploitation, we have found it. But the real tragedy is we believe this is just the tip of the iceberg," the Guardian quoted her as saying.
She called for a minister to be put in charge of the government's response.
"Without a minister with overall responsibility the government response is likely to remain inadequate," she stated.
The main findings from the report, called Puppet on a String, included, trafficking becoming more common and sexual exploitation more organised.
Grooming methods becoming more sophisticated as abusers use a range of technology - mobile phones, including texts and picture messages, Bluetooth technology, and the Internet - to control and abuse children.
The report also identified many different patterns of abuse, ranging from inappropriate relationships to organised networks of child trafficking.
Penny Nicholls, director of children and young people at The Children's Society, said the Barnardo's findings echoed their experiences.
"We join Barnardo's in calling on the government to take urgent action, ensuring a minister has special responsibility for overseeing a countrywide response to combat sexual exploitation," she added. (ANI)