28 young people ‘sexually exploited’ in Islington last year

Stock picture of a teenage girl using an iPhone. Picture: Chris Radburn/PA

Stock picture of a teenage girl using an iPhone. Picture: Chris Radburn/PA - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Twenty-eight young people were sexually exploited in Islington last year. The figures were presented to Islington Council’s health and wellbeing board yesterday afternoon.

Child sexual exploitation incidents were down from 40 in 2014/15. They are defined as an under-18 being coerced into sexual activity in exchange for money, drugs, gifts or other particulars. It is not necessarily physical, and can happen online.

Seven victims had “positive interventions”, while six suspects were “disrupted”, the Islington Safeguarding Children Board said in its submission.

Chairman Alan Caton, who wrote the 2015/16 report, told the Gazette: “We are trying to raise awareness of signs to look out for. Are they going missing? Associating with older people? Bringing home expensive gifts that they can’t explain?

“Young girls can be coerced into sexual activity with gang members, in order to ‘earn’ affiliation with that gang. It even happens to victims in the same age group.”

In addition, 54 pupils went missing from education in 2015/16. Of these, eight children remain unaccounted for.

Mr Caton explained: “It’s difficult to measure as some families move away and don’t tell the schools they have moved on. This may happen with traveller families, for example.”

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Overall, 81 children went missing from care in Islington a total of 429 times. Some of these cases were linked to child sexual exploitation. Meanwhile, there were 252 cases of young people going missing from home.