Organised criminals are extending their reach and forcing victims of sex trafficking into county lines drug dealing and other crimes, senior police said.
They no longer focus on one enterprise but are spreading their operations across drug trafficking, child sexual exploitation and modern-day slavery.
Victims were being moved to different criminal operations to be exploited again and again, a chief constable said.
Simon Bailey, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) lead for child protection and abuse investigation, announced plans for an overhaul of the force’s approach to tackle the problem.
Mr Bailey said that over the past six years the police service had faced a series of new threats regarding vulnerable victims.
They included revelations of group-based child sexual exploitation in Rotherham and other areas,