Wednesday, March 28, 2007

UK: Britian's Hidden Children

Many victims of child trafficking are sexually exploited

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND -- When Marie, a young girl from Cameroon, turned up in Manchester at the end of 2004 she was just one of hundreds of asylum seeking children alone in the city looking for help.

Her story was harrowing. Having been trafficked to France and forced into prostitution by her aunt, she fled to Britain with the help of a man who said he would help her escape.

Suffering from a range of physical and mental health problems, probably as a result of the abuse she endured, Marie was admitted to hospital.

Within two months she was dead. A post-mortem examination revealed natural causes. She was 16.

Sadly, Marie's case is thought to be just the tip of the iceberg and part of a growing industry which contributes to the 5,000 child sex slaves recently estimated to be working in the UK by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

This comes as the UK marks the 200th anniversary of the Parliamentary Act to abolish the slave trade.

According to Ecpat UK, an organisation which represents charities working against child exploitation, Marie's was one of 28 known cases of trafficked children in Manchester in 2005...


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