UK 'has 5,000 child prostitutes' August 22, 2007 2:54 PM
The UK has 5,000 child prostitutes, a report into slavery claims.
And Save The Children's Small Hands Of Slavery claims millions of youngsters are regularly attacked and raped in their lives as child slaves.
The shocking figures were released to coincide with Slavery Remembrance Day, the bicentenary of the trade's abolition.
Bill Bell, Save the Children's head of protection, said: "Child slavery is not a thing of the past. There are still millions of children in both rich and poor countries who are being forced to lead slave-like lives under horrific conditions of humiliation and abuse.
"Currently across the world there are, for example, 1.8 million children trapped in the sex trade, over a million children risking their lives working in mines, and millions more, some as young as six, forced to work up to 15 hour days as domestic workers. These children are treated as commodities, liable to be lent or sold to other owners without warning.
"World leaders and international donors must act with urgency to address child slavery and put in place the laws and resources needed to eradicate these terrible practices."
The report states that 1.2 million children and babies are trafficked every year, including into Western Europe, the Americas and the Caribbean, and the number is increasing.
Gangs involved in child and people trafficking make an estimated profit of 32 billion dollars (£16 billion) per year, the charity said.
Approximately 1.8 million children are being abused through prostitution, child pornography and sex tourism - and 75% of the UK's child prostitutes are girls.
The report states that youngsters often lose their childhood by being sold into adult relationships. The report states: "Child marriage, which often includes mail order and internet brides, is one of the most widespread - yet hidden - forms of slavery. Girls as young as four are forced to live and have sex with their husband, and are often kept trapped indoors. Girls under 15 are five times more likely to die during pregnancy and childbirth than women over 20. In Afghanistan more than half of all girls are married before they are 16."
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