Trafficking fears over children entering UK

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The Independent Online

Twenty unaccompanied children a day are entering Britain through Heathrow airport, a study by the Metropolitan Police has revealed.

Twenty unaccompanied children a day are entering Britain through Heathrow airport, a study by the Metropolitan Police has revealed.

Officers fear that a small number of the under-18s could be destined to work as domestic servants or in the sex industry. Scotland Yard is to set up a new child protection squad, the Ports Safeguarding Team, which will help immigration and social services staff to identify children who may be at risk of exploitation.

The study found that during a three-month period last year there were 1,738 unaccompanied children entering Britain at Heathrow. Most were found to be travelling legitimately for education, holidays or to join relatives. But a small number were considered to be at risk, with a handful found to be acting as domestic servants or slave labour. Twelve, including an 18-month-old girl, could not be traced and seem to have disappeared.