UK & World News
Sex Trafficking Victims 'Failed' By Authorities
Ministers, police and social workers have been accused of failing to tackle the "shocking underworld" of human trafficking.
The Centre for Social Justice think tank says the Government is "clueless" about the scale of the problem.
More than 1,000 trafficking victims were found last year, including a significant number of British children.
CSJ managing director Christian Guy said: "Our research has uncovered a shocking underworld in which children and adults, many of them UK citizens, have been forced into lives of utter degradation.
"The authorities are either failing to understand the nature of this abuse or turning a blind eye to its existence.
"Our once great nation of abolitionists is a shameful shadow of its former self."
The group is proposing a raft of measures to deal with the issue, including a new law to ensure victims are not prosecuted for forced criminality.
The CSJ is also calling on businesses to ensure their supply and product chains are free from forced labour, as well as demanding more rigorous training of professionals such as police and social workers to spot the signs of trafficking.
Sophie Hayes was 24 when she was groomed in Britain by an Albanian man who she thought was her boyfriend .
Six years ago, while on holiday in Italy, he suddenly turned on her and forced her into a life of prostitution.
In an interview with Sky News, she told of the mental turmoil she endured.
"To begin with, I tried to hold on. I would look in the mirror and just want to scream. And I'd see bruises which I'd never had before. Until one night everything changed, with one of the men that came.
"After that night, I just let go. To the point that I stopped caring. Because nothing I could do or say, no matter how many tears, how many screams, nothing would change the situation because I was too afraid to run.
"So many people would ask me: 'Why? Why would you not run away? Why would you not ask for help?' but he was the person who kept me from asking anybody to help me, knowing that my family were at risk - my younger brother could be taken.
"He'd already taken me to a lake to show me that if I did something wrong, that's where he would take me. He would put a knife to my neck, a gun in my mouth, a gun inside of me. I knew there was no boundary for him. All I was to him was money."
She has now set up the Sophie Hayes Foundation to raise awareness about human trafficking, and to support survivors.
A spokeswoman for the Home Office said the Government has already made significant progress in fighting trafficking.
She said: "Human trafficking is abhorrent and the UK Government is committed to combating this crime in all its forms.
"Investment in training for front line professionals to identify and refer victims, improvements in data collection, work with the private sector to protect workers and more personalised care and support for victims are already making a real difference.
"But the Government is not complacent and we will continue to work to improve and strengthen our approach to keep pace with emerging threats."