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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Secret suffering of kid sex slaves age five

Sulaiman Kamal | 3:55 AM | | | Best Blogger Tips

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SCOTS youngsters are being lured into a living hell of child sex slavery by depraved paedophile rings, a Scottish Sun investigation can reveal.

One of the nation's top vice-squad cops believes kids here — some aged just FIVE — are being targeted by highly-organised gangs of predators.

Despite the fears, there have so far been NO prosecutions for child trafficking in Scotland.

But Detective Inspector Clare McGuckien, of Strathclyde Police's Public Protection Unit, is determined to bust open the sick and secretive trade.

She said: "This type of criminality often happens behind closed doors. We must end the misery and the suffering".

Until recently it was believed most victims were vulnerable foreigners shipped to the UK from abroad.

But police are now fearful that beasts are also luring large numbers of kids from Scotland into their murky web.

She said: "Historically, the public considers trafficking to involve people being smuggled from abroad into Scotland. However there are gaps in the intelligence around this. We are working the bridge this gap."

Det Insp McGuckien revealed paedophile rings snare youngsters with gifts of cash, designer clothes and mobile phones. They then ply the kids with drugs and alcohol to pull them further into a vicious circle of sex slavery.

She said: "They gain the trust of children who they want to exploit and provide them with goods they would not normally have.

"These can include designer clothes, the latest mobile phone, games consoles and even cigarettes and alcohol.

"They are then more willing to do whatever these people want them to do in order to keep these material goods. It becomes a way of life for these children. They look up to these people and they think they are wonderful.

"But it will become sinister if they try to break free.

"They can be mentally and physically abused — and threatened into keeping quiet."

Det Insp McGuckien said a major difficulty is identifying kids at risk because they are scared to speak out against abusers.

Police rely heavily on other agencies and individuals such as social workers and teachers to flag up kids who they suspect are victims.

Det Insp McGuckien said: "Say, for example, the child is not attending school. That could be down to the fact they've fallen in with a bad crowd or there is domestic abuse in their household.

"But it can turn into a full blown child protection investigation.

"There may be issues highlighted that would suggest the child is a victim of trafficking.

"This could be for the purpose of sexual exploitation or domestic servitude."

Children who constantly run away are also a major concern. She said: "The biggest fear, for us, is that the child has become a victim of criminality and is being exploited."

Det Insp McGuckien has seen the devastating effects of the trade for herself — including one woman in Glasgow who believed she had been smuggled into the US.

The cop revealed: "She had arrived in Scotland six months earlier but she actually thought that she was living in America.

"She told us she had been kept in a house and that she wasn't allowed to leave that house.

"It was clear that various males had gone to that house and that she had been the victim of a horrendous and protracted period of sexual abuse.

"For her, it was very, very difficult to speak to the police and — after an initial engagement with us — she refused to provide any more information. I will never, ever, forget that woman because she was just so vulnerable.

"We are here if and when she is ready."

While no one has ever been convicted of child trafficking in Scotland, the PPU believe they have identified at least 49 potential adult victims between January 1 and December 31 last year.


Mission ... McGuckien is out to smash mysterious paedophile rings
Northern Constabulary uncovered 16 while Lothian and Borders Police have charged one person. This compares to none in Fife, Dumfries and Galloway, and Central over the same period. Grampian and Tayside didn't give figures.

Earlier this month, the Scottish Government commissioned a team of experts from the University of Bedfordshire to try to get a grip on the scale of trafficking.

In the meantime, police are relying heavily on the public to help smash the child sex trade.

Det Insp McGuckien said: "I would ask everyone to look out for the signs that a child is being exploited. These include a high turnover of children or adults at an address.

"We rely on members of the public to lift the phone and report what they see.

"It could be nothing — or it could save the life of as many as 20 children.

"If someone contacts the police and it is found that there is no substance to their fears, then I am good with that.

"What I don't want is information out there that people are not giving to the police, leaving a child living a life of complete and utter misery."


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