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Child Exploitation Crisis

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7:19am 23rd February 2012

Cornwall and Devon's child trafficking and sex exploitation crisis is revealed.

The number of cases has reached three a week.

Barnado's is stepping up a campaign to help us spot the signs.

Detective Inspector Simon Snell says Devon and Cornwall Police are already working better with other agencies: "We are working very closely now with the local safeguarding boards, trying to drive a protocol which will cover the entire peninsula. It's about all agencies identifying child sexual exploitation and a referral system and to actually put in some action plans to stop it in the first place. I often think we've failed if we're embarked upon an investigation, then really something should have happened before then. Before we react to things. We need to be far more pro-active about stopping this type of abuse".

Barnardo’s data shows:

    * The number of sexually exploited children Barnardo’s works with has grown by 8.4% to 1,190
    * The majority of grooming is in private with cases of ‘street grooming’ being rare
    * 1 in 10 of those exploited were boys
    * Nearly half (44%) of the children have gone missing from home
    * 1 in 6 young people have been trafficked and moved from town to town and city to city; 1 in 2 in some areas.
    * 1 in 3 services has seen a marked increase in peer-to-peer exploitation.

Barnardo’s chief executive Anne Marie Carrie says, "The number of children we work with rose, yet we are still not seeing the urgency of action we would expect for such an horrific crime.

"We have been campaigning for more help for these vulnerable girls and boys for a year now and we will not let it slide.

"Too many children from all walks of life can so quickly be caught up in a world of drugs, violence and sex – this is a sickening slur on our society and we must do all we can to end it".

Click for information on how to spot the danger signs.

7:19am 23rd February 2012

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