THE number of British child slaves has tripled
And almost nine out of ten of last year’s 128 victims — up from 38 in 2012 — had been sexually exploited by gangs.
The kids were among 2,744 slaves of all ages and nationalities identified in the UK in 2013.
Many were sold from gang to gang for between £200 and £6,000. Some were tattooed to show who owned them or how old they were.
Liam Vernon, head of the National Crime Agency’s United Kingdom Human Trafficking Centre, said: “The branding is a form of control.
“You brand cattle and that’s how traffickers view people — as a commodity to buy and sell.”
The overall number of slaves rose by 22 per cent, according the the NCA’s annual report. The largest number — 307 — came from Romania and 239 from Poland while 193 were UK-born.
More than 600 of the total were children, most aged 12 to 15 and 96 per cent of them girls.
Mr Vernon said of the British child victims: “The cases reported to us were girls being moved around the country by organised gangs.”
This echoed recent scandals in Rotherham, Rochdale and Oxford.
More than half the Romanian slaves were forced into prostitution.
Among Polish victims, 91 per cent were made to work at car washes, farms, building sites or in the food industry.
As well as sexual exploitation, child slaves were often also forced into crime and begging.
Around 20 Vietnamese children were found working at cannabis farms while 50 Slovakian kids were used for benefit frauds.
It also emerged that some vulnerable British men have been trafficked to Scandinavia as slave labour.
And many trafficked immigrants here were pushed into crime by slave masters to pay off their smuggling fees of up to £40,000.
The Government is trying to crack down by pushing through a Modern Slavery bill.
Modern slavery and organised crime minister Karen Bradley said the legislation, the first of its kind in Europe, will make it easier to prosecute the criminals behind the rackets, ensure tougher sentences and improve the protection of victims.
She added: “Modern slavery is an appalling crime that has no place in today’s society.
“Yet these figures show it is taking place here — often out of sight — in shops, fields, building sites and behind the curtains of houses on ordinary streets.”
Devon and Cornwall chief constable Shaun Sawyer, who is national police chief on slavery, said of the report: “The document clearly indicates no part of the UK is immune from the activities of organised crime in their exploitation of people.”
Case study 1: Family of evil
A SEVEN-year-old girl was saved from slavery by police.
Tiny Elena was a modern-day Cinderella, put to work as other kids in the London home played.
She had to cook and clean and was covered in grime when cops found her. Her teeth were so rotten they all had to be removed.
She was beaten daily by gold-toothed Alexandra Oaie.
Elena had been trafficked into the UK by a Romanian family who had told her mother she would have a better life here.
She was saved after another slave held by the family escaped.
Oaie, 44, her husband Aurel-Ilie Zlate, 45, and their two sons were jailed for a total of 40 years in 2012.
Case study 2: Girl, 10, raped