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The number of British children being used as slaves has doubled in a year after an explosion in ‘county lines’ drug gangs.
Shocking figures show that modern slavery cases involving children soared from 676 in 2017 to 1,421 last year.
Years - Number - Youngsters - Gangs - Cent
Over the past five years, the number of youngsters being targeted by criminal gangs has rocketed by more than 2,000 per cent – from just 63 cases in 2013.
Experts say the growth of county lines gangs has fuelled the rise in children as young as 11 being enslaved.
Number - Operations - Year - Teenagers - Bulk
The number of drug-dealing operations has almost trebled from 720 last year to around 2,000, with teenagers aged 15 to 17 making up the bulk of the gangs involved.
Police chiefs have said the £500million industry in county lines – referring to the mobile phones used to sell, distribute and buy the drugs – has ‘saturated’ the country.
Children - National - Referral - Mechanism - NRM
In 2018, there were 1,421 British children submitted to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), which assesses instances of modern slavery, the National Crime Agency (NCA) found.
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