Gangs smuggling Vietnamese kids from Calais to UK for work on cannabis farms - NSPCC

© Kham
Vietnamese children are being hidden in the Calais ‘Jungle’ camp as cover before being smuggled to Britain where they are subjected to sexual abuse and forced labor, including on cannabis farms.

A new report from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) warns the ‘Jungle’ is being used as a transit site for people smugglers who hide minors from authorities.

Vietnamese children are thought to make up a significant number of those trafficked from the camp to the UK, where they can be forced into domestic servitude or criminal activities such as cannabis farming.

NSPCC investigators carried out their first official visit to the Calais camp this week amid growing concerns the ‘Jungle’ is being used by international criminal gangs for people trafficking.

Members of the charity’s Child Trafficking Advice Centre (CTAC) spent a week in France training volunteers in how to identify vulnerable children.

They found young people are being illegally transported hundreds or even thousands of miles across the world by smugglers, frequently exposing them to horrifying physical and sexual abuse.

Children as young as nine living in the camp could be vulnerable to traffickers, the charity warned.

Vietnamese children are especially prevalent in the camp. It is believed they are being smuggled to the UK to work as slaves on cannabis farms.

Vietnamese gangs dominate the UK’s domestic cannabis market, producing 90 percent of the crop in 2015.

NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless said: “We are facing a difficult and dangerous situation where children are being brought to Calais by crime gangs on what is the final leg of a horrendous journey.

They are then being held and sometimes hidden in the encampment while the criminals wait for an opportunity to move them into the UK where they can be abused and exploited.

At the same time, you have other criminals roaming the camps seeking out children who have traveled to the French border with family, friends and sometimes even alone that are vulnerable to human trafficking.”