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Majority of prostitutes are foreign migrants; 10% confirmed as 'sex slaves'

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The Association of Chief Police Officers published research yesterday that paints a disturbing picture of prostitution in this country.

The study found that around 17,000 of the estimated 30,000 women involved in off-street prostitution in England and Wales were born overseas. Of these, 2,600 are confirmed victims of sex slavery / human trafficking and a further 9,200 are 'vulnerable migrants' working unwillingly in the sex trade, but who researchers could not be certain had been trafficked. Approximately one half of the 17,000 migrant prostitutes come from Eastern Europe and a third from Asia.

Typically, a woman smuggled into the UK will not know that she is going to be used as a prostitute, but will be forced to sell her body to pay off a "debt-bond" of around £30,000. Often she and/or her family back home will be threatened with violence and forced to work in a brothel seven days a week, sleeping with dozens of men, until she has "repaid" the loan.

Commenting on the study, Immigration Minister Damian Green said:

"Human trafficking is a brutal form of organised crime where people are traded as commodities and exploited for profit by criminal gangs.

"In order to combat trafficking more effectively we need to understand it better, and [this study] marks significant progress. Having any number of people trafficked into the UK is unacceptable, therefore it is vital that we use [it] to re-focus our efforts both at targeting the criminal gangs that trade in this human misery and in helping victims escape and recover from their ordeal."

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