Laura Sharman 07 April 2021

Figures show rise in sexual and criminal exploitation under lockdown

Figures show rise in sexual and criminal exploitation under lockdown image

Criminal and sexual exploitation has risen ‘dramatically’ during the pandemic, new data has warned today.

New figures from Unseen's Helpline reveal that reports of criminal exploitation have increased by 42% in the past year, with reports of sexual exploitation up 25% on the previous year.

The 2020 assessment shows a quarter of potential victims of sexual exploitation were children, while minors accounted for a fifth of potential victims of criminal exploitation.

Justine Currell, executive director of Unseen and co-author of the assessment: ‘A year on from the first lockdown, the number of reports relating to sexual and criminal exploitation, and those involving children, is particularly alarming, given that overall contacts to the Helpline decreased during the pandemic.

’COVID-19 and the subsequent economic downturn affected the visibility of the threat in such places as car washes and nail bars. And as you would expect, the proportion of calls from the general public declined during the lockdowns. But this report shows that modern slavery and human trafficking is still alive and unfortunately thriving.’

The Children’s Society called for more investment in training and early help services to identify risks and support young people who have been exploited.

Iryna Pona, policy manager at The Children’s Society, said: 'We have found that knowledge among professionals of the National Referral Mechanism, (NRM) the system for identifying victims of modern slavery is patchy and that referrals are often of a poor quality. This needs to change.

'Every child should be referred to the NRM where exploitation is suspected and we want the Government to give all children – including victims of both domestic and international trafficking - access to an independent child trafficking guardian who can help them get the support they need.'

Keeping the safety net image

Keeping the safety net

Local authority leadership is invaluable to Transitional Safeguarding and councils are ideally placed to enable complexity-attuned commissioning, says Dez Holmes.
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Director of Children's Safeguarding and Care 

Gloucestershire County Council
Up to £116,391, plus relocation support
We are looking to fill this vital role at a very important time for us.  Our children’s services team is on an important journey of... Gloucestershire
Recuriter: Gloucestershire County Council

Student Gardener

Chelmsford City Council
Grade 2 - £17,715 per annum
We are looking for candidates with a desire to improve their skill and knowledge within the horticultural industry the use of a variety of horticul... Chelmsford, Essex
Recuriter: Chelmsford City Council

Casual Assistant Coach

Chelmsford City Council
Grade 3 - £9.48 per hour
An exciting opportunity has arisen to support the Community Sport & Wellbeing Team at Chelmsford City Council with a Physical Activity project for ... Chelmsford, Essex
Recuriter: Chelmsford City Council

Developer Level 2

Chelmsford City Council
Grade 9 - Starting at £38,517 per annum, rising to £42,441
Would you like to work for an Investors in People award winning organisation that offers flexible working arrangements, excellent pension and have ... Chelmsford, Essex
Recuriter: Chelmsford City Council

Casual Assistant Swimming Instructor

Chelmsford City Council
Grade 4 - £10.79 per hour
Riverside Leisure Centre is Chelmsford City Council’s flagship leisure facility, offering a variety of sporting activities where there is something... Chelmsford, Essex
Recuriter: Chelmsford City Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue