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A society can be measured by a number of factors that can indicate its level of sophistication, advancement and indeed its degree of civilisation. The indices of such social standing can be found in its art, literature, scientific achievements or its ability to employ advanced technologies but how its children are treated or cared for perhaps says more of the society than any other factor. Great Britain or the United Kingdom as it is now known must surely be among the most advanced civilisations on Earth its technical ability knows few equals, its education system is among the best in the world and its legendary social policy of caring for its citizens  “From the cradle to the grave” is the envy of many countries on a parallel plane of social development. Yet there is now a depravity, which to its shame has been allowed to flourish by both a lack of will to eradicate it and a refusal to admit that it exists in this day and age. It is a trade in slavery, which Dickensian England sought to annihilate, child slavery. This is no wholesome trade in  “Child labour” for industrial profit or gain though the exploitations it practised were horrific, no this is the trade in children for the “Sex trade” and involves the sale of children for use by adults for money.  One might expect that it is only girls that are at risk but increasingly boys too have been detected in this illegal trade.
The market place for the trade in young flesh is often near if not in airports and seaports but now with the advent of Eurostar railway communications the trade is spreading. The average price of a chattel for that is what they are to the criminal gangs that exploit them ranges from 3000 to 5000 and transactions take place every day in a country that boasts that it stamped out slavery 200 years ago. It is a shock to find that it has not.

For the gangs involved in the trafficking of unwitting children from mainland Europe, the Far East and Asia endemic poverty makes it easy for anyone seeking new “Goods” to obtain them. A promise of a job or an education for a child will often separate a child from its family and the family more often than not are coerced into paying a “Fee” or at least the travel costs. From the point of origin to the UK though the intent is illegal the operation could be said to be within the law but the point at which it changes from “Vaguely legal” to criminal activity is when the passport of the traveller is confiscated by the agents that made the promise of work or education. So now the child finds itself in a strange country where its knowledge of the language is probably very basic and there is no one to whom they can turn to for help. The trafficker’s job of acquiring the asset is now done and there is a profit to be realised.
The trafficker holds the passport of the child, which can be sold into the “Identity fraud” network either here or abroad. The family have already paid for the travel costs and often a “Fee” to the agent that “Supervised” the journey to the UK. So far it has cost the trafficker nothing, in fact they have “Skimmed” a profit at every stage but there is a further profit to be made before the child is passed to the next stage of this reprehensible trade. It is the sale of the child to indigenous criminal organisations engaged in prostitution, pornography and various other activities, which can only be described as sexual. Many disappear without trace after they are sold and some are never found again. There is no one they can tell, there is no escape without documents or money the control exercised by their “Owners” is total. They are condemned to work in illegal brothels or starve. One they enter the underworld of criminality they are often sold several times over and with each transaction it becomes harder to locate them and impossible to determine just how many there are.

It is estimated that there are around 5000 children working in the sex trade today in the UK and if the true figure could be determined it would most likely be three times that figure. One might be seduced to think that this trade is one where the parents of the child are always ignorant of the true nature of the enterprise but cases are now coming to light that involve the parents of a child “Selling” one or more of their children directly to the traffickers knowing where they are going and why. Whilst there is a flourishing but regrettable trade of children for the sex trade there is also a parallel trade in youngsters for “Domestic” services and “Industrial uses” the advantage being that if someone is in the UK illegally then it would be difficult for them to claim the minimum wage which means that they often work for little or no money.

The police forces in the UK are beginning to accept that there is a problem and have a unit dedicated to combating the human traffickers but it is estimated that the turnover is around 6,000,000,000 and the risk of detection is still too low to make the trade unviable. 6 billion pounds buys an awful lot of legal clout to ward off the unwelcome attention of law enforcement agencies who with the best will they can muster can only detect the criminality after it has been committed which is far too late for the children who are already damaged beyond recovery. The court that has seen many trials involving the rigours of slavery is The Old Bailey a name taken from the thoroughfare on which the Central Criminal Court stands. It has been the site of a courthouse since 1674 when slavery was a legal trade, outside there was a gallows where public executions took place up to 1868 some of those sentenced to death would have been slave traders. It became the Central Criminal Court in 1907 and celebrates its centenary this year, a royal visit is planned to mark the event. The court has done much to uphold the ideals of the abolition of the slave trade in all of its reprehensible forms but it is now clear that whilst the slave ships of the seventeenth and eighteenth century no longer ply the slave trade routes they have been replaced by a more clandestinely cunning slave trade that uses guile, legal jurist prudence, and trade routes that encompass, airline routes, international railways, road and sea routes that have had the barriers of borders removed by the advent of the EEC, and prey on the abject desperation of their victims to improve their lot in the scheme of life. The victims are no longer identified by their colour or their race but by their age and inexperience of a sophisticated society that thought that slavery had been stamped out two hundred years ago. On the streets of the modern United Kingdom the “Slave” still exists today, unseen by the majority of its citizens as they pass inconspicuously into a twilight trade that has existed since the dawn of time beyond the consciousness of the society it services. It is the “Mokita”[that which everyone knows exists but no one speaks of] that is slowly eroding by stealth the value of our modern society and its “Pawns” are the enslaved by a desire to improve their educational opportunities or the sacrifice of one or more of a desperately poor family’s siblings on the altar of economic migration. The modern “Slave traders” are the agents promising work to families abroad that does not materialise and the criminal gangs that prey on “The fruits of the womb”[the children of same] right here in the UK. Today they need no “Slave ships” because transport is provided, they do not need guns or whips to drive
the slaves to market because they are quite willing to come on the promises made to them, the customers for the slaves no form an orderly queue. Neither do they need manacles or leg irons because once they have seized passports and deprived them of money, shelter and food a child in a strange place will be compliant. The slave market will be but a few steps from wherever the unsuspecting child will enter the country.

It might be thought that it could not happen here, yet it does. It might be thought that it could not happen to a native “English” child but it has as a result of a debt that could never be repaid. It might be thought that as long as the child is employed in an industry that is “Socially acceptable” that the problem is not really that serious but when an eleven year old is found working in a restaurant even that stance becomes questionable.

However a society is measured its children are ultimately its future and whether those children are born to its population or a later addition by immigration the result is similar. If it is permitted to go unchecked the “Idea of slavery” by whatever name it is called will become acceptable again in the generations to come, is that the legacy we will leave to our children? If we choose to ignore it then it will surely come to pass!


Posted: February 27, 2007 

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