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THE number of people referred for being suspected victims of human trafficking in the UK has more than trebled since 2012.
There were 3,809 referrals made to authorities last year - including 1,280 involving children - at a rate of more than 10 every day.
Human trafficking is the illegal transportation of people from one country or area to another, for reasons including forced labour, sexual exploitation, and domestic servitude.
Forced labour means victims are made to work incredibly long hours before handing over wages to traffickers.
Sexual exploitation includes non-consensual or abusive sex acts such as prostitution, escorting and pornography.
Domestic servitude includes victims being forced to work in private households, often sleeping on the floor, without getting paid.
Out of the 110 nationalities referred within the UK, the highest number of child victims were in fact UK citizens. Some 256 boys and girls were referred, or 20% of all 1,280 children, in 2016.
Some 217 UK children were believed to have been sexually exploited and 35 were referred for forced labour.
By ALICE CACHIA
The number of human trafficking referrals is rising so quickly that there were more children of all nationalities referred last year than there were combined adult and child referrals 2012. Boys were mostly referred for forced labour, while girls were overwhelmingly referred for sexual exploitation. Among adults, Albanians were referred 473 times more than any other nationality - and making up nearly one in five human trafficking cases involving over 18s. There were also 292 Vietnamese, 218