The charity worked with more than 1,000 victims of child exploitation last year, but believe this is just a fraction of those actually suffering, despite just 38 per cent of UK adults believing abuse is happening in their town or city.
According to the chariity, signs of a child being sexually exploited include:
- Going missing for long periods of time
- Regularly returning home late
- Appearing with unexpected gifts or new possessions
- Behaving in an inappropriately sexual way
- Associating with older teenagers or adults
Less than half of parents surveyed by Barnardo's were able to spot the subtle signs, like coming home late and associating with older teenagers and adults, and one in four dads weren't confident they would be able to spot dangerous relationships developing, compared to one in six mums.
For more info on spotting signs of exploitation and abuse visit Barnardos.org.uk.