It is feared that these numbers could in fact be much higher. Officials are being urged to act now in order to stop the abuse.
The report is due to be published and released in September 2013 after more information has been gathered from local authorities, police and health and justice workers by the investigational team.
Girls as young as 11 are being targeted by groups of men who lure them in with gifts and special attention. The children are then sold or passed on to others who will exploit them sexually.
Sue Berelowitz, deputy children’s commissioner for England, has stated that the issue affects all races and all classes in the UK.
One young woman, who was 12 years old when she was targeted by gangs, said: “they had full control over me, they got very violent and threatening, I’d get raped one a week, every week. I’d have to sleep with other men as well.”
Some children are pressured into sexual activity by older friends, boyfriends or girlfriends. Children in care are 4 times more likely to be exploited sexually than those who are not.
The report comes as research from the University of Bedfordshire reveals not enough is being done to prevent the sexual exploitation of children by gangs in the country.
Many lives are seriously damaged by gangs who operate in this abhorrent manner, with children from the most vulnerable and helpless areas of society being exploited. Rebecca Einhorn of NSPCC says: “hopefully this inquiry will give us a clearer picture of just how big the problem is and help those working in the field find solutions to protect these vulnerable children.”
If you have been a victim of sexual abuse, or know of someone who has been, you may want to seek the support of a counsellor. To find a counsellor specialising in child abuse, please use the search tool on our homepage.
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