A NEW report on modern slavery in the UK has found what it describes as a "clueless" and "shocking" response from the authorities towards trafficking.
"Our research has uncovered an underworld in which children and adults, many of them UK citizens, have been forced into lives of utter degradation," the report by the Centre of Social Justice says.
"Yet the authorities are either failing to understand the nature of this abuse or turning a blind eye to its existence."
The police, the UKBA and the judicial system are criticised for treating trafficking victims as immigration criminals, while social services do not protect the victims from the perpetrators.
The report found that 60 per cent of trafficked children put in the care of local authorities go missing again shortly after.
A large trafficking network within the UK was also discovered in which British girls were being moved and sold off around the country, mainly for sexual exploitation.
In one case, the report cites a girl who was taken into captivity by a group of men and allegedly raped 90 times over the course of a weekend.
The report has demanded change to combat trafficking by removing responsibility for the crime from immigration to criminal justice, appointing an anti-slavery commissioner, passing a Modern Slavery Act, creating a strategy for rebuilding the lives of victims and challenging international businesses to work against trafficking.