'Hundreds of UK minors being groomed for sexual exploitation'

`Hundreds of UK minors being groomed for sexual exploitation` London: Hundreds of British children are being allured and groomed by networks of sophisticated older men for sexual exploitation, a leading UK-Based charity claimed today.

"It's a growing phenomenon and it's extremely difficult for police as there are networks of older men grooming and trafficking children within the UK for sexual exploitation," charity Barnardo's said in its report.

In a survey, it found that organised criminals are gaining the trust of vulnerable young girls by showering them with gifts and affection, before plying them with alcohol and drugs.

"They are then moved from city to city, where they are forced to have sex with numerous other men," the report said.

Chief executive of Barnardo's Martin Narey said, "The exploitation was becoming more organised and the abusers more sophisticated".

"The children we work with feel a terrible sense of shame. They've been forced to do awful things by the adults who groom and control them – yet somehow society blames them. A child cannot consent to their own abuse," Narey added.

Barnardo's estimates that thousands of British children could be being sold for sex around the country, yet only 20 per cent of local authorities have any specialist services to help them, The Guardian reported.

Wendy Shepherd, a service manager for the charity, said she believed the total number being trafficked within the UK was likely to be in the hundreds.

Bureau Report