CHILD slave gangs are luring youngsters to Britain with false promises of fame and fortune in the Premier League and on the catwalk, it's been revealed.
Charities say children are routinely duped with promises of sporting stardom and modelling contracts - with many then being used as child prostitutes.
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The news comes as the Times reveals just six per cent of crimes recorded by police forces under the Modern Slavery Act have led to charges since the legislation was introduced in 2015.
Of the 5,145 suspected slaves referred to the national safeguarding programme last year, 2,118 or (41 per cent) were aged under 18. Many ended up living on the streets.
The shocking exploitation of children and teens increased 66 per cent on the previous year leading to claims the country's cops are failing to adequately investigate modern slavery.
During its investigation the Times found top football clubs, including Tottenham Hotspur, have called in the authorities after children arrived at their stadiums believing they had been chosen for trials.
The investigation also showed that police forces are failing to build cases that eventually lead to criminal charges.
However, forces say that they've been overwhelmed by the number of foreign organised crime groups targeting the UK.
And they say their investigations are hindered by the reluctance of victims to become witnesses.
“People are either so coerced that they don’t identify as victims or are so frightened they won’t support a prosecution,” said a West Midland force spokesman.
Shocking cases included examples of children being tricked into sex slavery or forced labour jobs on cannabis farms or in domestic servitude.
Fake sports agents also take advantage of poor young boys’ footballing ambitions and the pulling power of the Premier League.