Seven children victims of trafficking in city

James Laurie. Picture: Hampshire Constabulary

Concern for Portsmouth teenager who has been missing for two weeks

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SEVEN children were reported as victims of human trafficking in Portsmouth, police figures have revealed.

The National Crime Agency published figures for 2015 showing how many referrals had been made to the National Referral Mechanism.

In all, 3,266 potential victims were referred in 2015, a 40 per cent increase on 2014.

One child victim was referred in Southampton.

It comes after the Modern Slavery Partnership for Hampshire was launched last year to tackle the crime.

The News revealed children had been found alone at Portsmouth International Port and put into care.

South East MEP Catherine Bearder, said: ‘Modern slavery is happening right under our noses, including right here in Portsmouth.

‘While there has been a lot of progress made in recent years to dismantle criminal gangs running this vile trade, not enough is being done to help the victims. The government must step up efforts to train law enforcement officials so they can spot the signs and give human trafficking victims the help they need.’

The MEP authored a report voted in the European Parliament this week which calls for more to be done to help victims of human trafficking across the European Union.