Two dozen suspected child slaves in Newham flagged to authorities last year

Two dozen potential child victims of modern slavery and trafficking in Newham were flagged to authorities last year.

The number of referrals in the borough was the third highest of London’s local authorities, according to new figures.

The National Crime Agency said UK nationals made up the highest number of cases for the first time nationwide, followed by Albanians and people from Vietnam.

NCA data show 252 potential victims in London were flagged to the National Referral Mechanism, 93 per cent of whom (235) were children.

The borough followed Tower Hamlets (30 potential victims) and Croydon (28) as the capital’s hotspot for cases.

Nationally, the number of minors reported to the NRM rose by two thirds from last year.

The agency said the increase was due to “increased awareness” and growing drugs supply routes, or “county lines”.

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Here, gangs based in cities use young people as couriers to move products to rural areas.