Monday, September 16, 2002

Manchester Evening News

Plight of vice kids

YOUNGSTERS in the north west as young as six years old have been drawn into prostitution, say the children's charity Barnardo's.

The sorry plight of girls as young as 12 and boys as young as six is highlighted in a new report out today called Stolen Childhood, which is calling on the government to provide adequate protection for children abused through prostitution.

Barnardo's have launched a harrowing series of new advertisements showing children in abusive situations, charting the work of a dozen Barnardo's projects around the country.

The charity says that it is time to introduce tough new legislation — and wants to see four specific new criminal offences included when changes in sexual offences laws are proposed later this year. Barnardo's said that it should be an offence to: Buy the sexual services of a child; Recruit, induce or compel a child into commercial sexual exploitation; Participate in, facilitate or allow the sexual exploitation of a child; or Receive money or other reward for sexual exploitation of a child. Julie Dugdale, Assistant Director of Children's Services in the north west of England, said: "Over the past three years, Barnardo's projects have worked with 2,215 children from the age of six, who have been abused or at risk through prostitution.

"These children have been entrapped, coerced, beaten and abused.

"Their childhoods have been

"It is time that this changed."

The report is based solely on material provided by Barnardo's 12 UK projects working specifically with children abused through prostitution — including the Merseyside Scheme in the north west.

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Created: September 17, 2002
Last modified: September 17, 2002
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