Although all the characters in Ring Around Rosie are fictional, Child Trafficking is most definitely not. Each one of the characters plays a role to give you an idea of the kind of horror that trafficking can bring, whether to a middle class white girl with a family that cares about her, or a poor Nigerian girl whose family sold her for a few pennies to feed themselves. Many of the characters were developed from real life stories I read when doing my research; the age groups, the nationalities –

there is no discrimination in the world of trafficking; anyone and everyone is a potential victim for anything from prostitution to slave labour. When I first heard about Child Trafficking I was shocked that such exploitation of innocent human lives was allowed to go on. I was sure slavery had been abolished years ago, and yet here we still are, probably sitting not too far from someone who is doing something against their will at the hands of a much more evil and manipulative other. Much like Ted did on the tube in the book, I found myself looking around more at people and trying to guess which, if any, might have some child locked away at home cleaning the floors, or out making money for them like Rosie and the other girls were forced to do. Of course it’s

impossible to tell, mostly because the diversity of culture, especially in our cities, means that people can be trafficked around relatively freely without alerting suspicion, which also makes it a very hard crime to keep track of and stop.  As in Lo’s case, it is very common for children to be re-trafficked. Even if the authorities manage to rescue the children and place them in care, they are often kidnapped again within a few months. I have listed a few statistics and websites below (correct at the time of printing), where you can find out more information if you would like to get involved with helping children like Lo, Baduwa, Utibe, Mai-Li, Jelena, Tihana, and of course, Rosie. 


Human trafficking is a complex phenomenon fueled by the tremendous growth in the global sex market. Exploitation is driven by poverty, uneven development, official corruption, gender discrimination, harmful traditional and cultural practices, civil
unrest, natural disasters and lack of political will to end it. (ECPAT)
Human trafficking is the second largest source of illegal income worldwide, exceeded only by drugs. (belser 2005)
At least 12.3 million people are victims of forced labour worldwide.  Of these 2.45 million are as a result of human trafficking. 
A global alliance against forced labor, International Labour Organisation, 2005. 

1.2 million children are trafficked every year. Estimate by UNICEF
People trafficking is the fastest growing means by which people are enslaved, the fastest growing international crime, and one of the largest sources of income for organised crime. 
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime
Types of recruitment include: abduction, false agreement with parents, sold by parents, runaways, travel with family, orphans sold from street or institutions.
79% of all global trafficking is for sexual exploitation. 

Human trafficking is a ‘low risk, high profit’ crime, with annual profits of $32 billion.
Save the Children UK


emily pattullo author​