Sarah Champion, a Member of Parliament (MP) for Rotherham, said Wednesday that the rate of exploitation of children by gangs and reports in the media about how girls and boys have been used as slaves were just the "tip of the iceberg."
“As a country we have to focus on prevention, not just sit back and be surprised once a child is abused,” said Champion.
Authorities announced this week a 2 million pound ($2.6 million) scheme to help stop child slavery in the UK. Britain recorded its highest annual number of slave children last year as some 2,118 kids wee suspected to have been forced into sex slavery, domestic servitude or forced labor, Presstv reported.
The government scheme on slavery is to be launched in 2019 and will focus on protecting children who go missing from home and fall into the hands of gangs.
Kate Garbers, managing director of anti-slavery charity Unseen, said Britain was facing an unacceptable number of children going missing from local authority care and placements.
Catherine Baker of charity ECPAT UK said the government needed to ensure all forms of exploitation affecting children could be addressed in its crackdown.
Australian human rights group Walk Free said last month that the number of modern-day slaves in Britain had increased by 10 times since 2013 to reach 136,000 people last year.