Ross Kemp speaks out about human trafficking

Tonight at 9pm on Sky1 and Sky 1 HD, Ross Kemp takes us behind the headlines about the horrifying trade in human lives.

In Ross Kemp: Extreme World, we’ll see Ross speaking to those who profit from this horrendous trade, as well as those who’ve been victims of it.

And frighteningly, much of his investigation is right here in the UK.

The Daily Mirror today has printed an article in which Ross tells the behind the scenes story of the show, and it’s evident that what he saw and learned has had a profound effect on him.

You can read what he had to say after the jump, but be warned, his account is harrowing and graphic…

STARING into this man’s cold eyes was a sickening experience as he boasted of becoming a girl’s boyfriend – just to force her into the sex trade.

The shocking thing for me was how he could treat another human being as a football to be kicked from one pimp to another. And be proud about it.

I met him in his cell where he is serving a long sentence for trafficking women. Far from being ashamed of his appalling crimes, he bragged about them. And he didn’t seem to think he had done anything wrong.

I have travelled the world exposing the dark side of human nature but for the first time I decided to turn to Britain to see how an international trade brings misery here.

It turns my stomach that women and particularly children are trafficked into the UK for sex.

In ordinary streets across the country there are women who have been sold into the sex trade.

It affects children, teenagers and adults. But it is a hidden world that is difficult to break into. My meeting with the sex trafficker took place in Romania where I travelled to find some of the gangs that are responsible for the sick trade.

They target vulnerable women, offering them the chance of a new life abroad. The victims turn up at airports thinking they are set to start a good job. But they are flown to Britain and forced into prostitution.

I met many criminals involved in the trade. The women’s lives mean nothing to them. Pimps gamble with each other – and the girls are the prizes. They are just treated like mere betting chips.

We don’t know how many people have been trafficked into the UK illegally as part of this multi-million pound industry.

Many of the girls work seven days a week. Some brothels open at 9am on a weekday and don’t close until the early hours of the morning. Some of the girls have sex with 40 men in a day, sometimes more. The conditions they work in are truly horrendous.

One girl I heard about had an abortion in the morning and serviced 12 men in the afternoon.

What I also found shocking was how many women were involved in the acquisition and pimping of other women.

Husbands use their wives to con girls into travelling to the UK. The wives then hold them here until the victims can be sold for sex.

Often the gangsters force themselves on the poor girls while wives are watching.

Some countries are now more aware about what is going on, particularly in Eastern Europe, and now there is better dialogue between the country where the girls are from and the places they are sent.

People-trafficking is modern day slavery. There are more slaves today than there were at the height of the slave trade.

You would have hoped that we would have moved on from the 1700s – but it looks like we have stood still. At best.

There is always going to be demand for sex and I am not making a judgment about men who pay for it – as long as they do it with the knowledge that the other person is there of her own free will.

Sadly, sex slaves are not the only victims of human-trafficking.

One of the raids I went on was to a marijuana factory where we found a young Vietnamese man.

He is one of the teenagers who has been promised a new life in this country – but the new life is worse than the old one.

Sometimes their parents use all their savings to get them here, thinking they are going to send money home from a good job.

But this boy was locked in a huge drug-making factory, tending to the cannabis plants.

In one road in Greenwich, a nice part of South East London, there were three factories.

You wouldn’t have noticed it or smelt it because the systems they use are so advanced. And in each one there was a young lad locked inside tending to the precious crops.

They can hardly speak English but they have all been trained by the gangs that own them to say “I am 15” so they are not treated as an adult by the police.

These kids are young and when found by officers are taken in by social services and eventually released. But they drift back into crime because they have little alternative.

They don’t know how to speak English so they go back to the only thing they know – within months they are back locked up with hundreds of marijuana plants.

Let’s not forget also that some people are held in domestic servitude.

There are a lot of farmers out there, as well as others in the agricultural sector, who need to take a good, hard look at themselves and the things they do.

You only have to remember back to the cockle pickers who died in Morecambe Bay in 2004.
Some bosses believe they can’t afford to employ someone legitimately – so they employ them illegally.

And it’s going to get worse as the economic troubles continue to grip the nation.

The problem is a tough one for police to crack.

Language and cultural barriers make it very difficult to get inside many communities, particularly those from Nigeria, China and south east Asia.

Police forces are already understaffed and the levels are set to be cut back even further, so their difficulties will get worse.

This modern-day slavery must end and we have to make sure the resources are there to stop such an evil trade.

The article concludes by stating, “The Mirror has joined forces with End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and the Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes, and The Body Shop, to urge our readers to sign a petition demanding an end to sex trafficking.”

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Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.