An estimated 30,000 have been targeted as drug dealers groom kids in a bid to expand their trade into Britain’s market towns and coastal resorts.
A Britiish teenager who was kidnapped and forced to smuggle drugs around Britain by so-called County Lines gangs has spoken about her terrifying ordeal.
Malika Trotman was one of an estimated 30,000 youngsters targeted, some only 12.
The kids have been intimidated into working for thugs in cities whose aim is to expand their trade into market towns and coastal resorts.
The growing crime network delivers cocaine and heroin to order via mobile phone lines.
Children are often groomed and exploited online in the same way sexual perverts operate.
Malika is one of three teenagers who were abducted and held hostage in a house in Wales and forced to carry out deals after being told: “You belong to me now.”
The naive student was on a first date when she was taken 200 miles from home by ruthless County Lines gangster Mahad Yusuf, 21.
In the guise of romance, he used Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat to shower Malika with affection.
She said: “I had no idea anything like this could ever happen. Now I know it is a huge problem and the experience has had a huge impact on me.
“I just hope my story will help other people recognise warning signs when it comes to being befriended online.
“People can seem nice on social media but they could be completely different, if not dangerous, in real life.”
Malika was on a university course, which included studying criminology, when her nightmare began.
She said: “I remember getting a private message on Facebook from Mahad saying how pretty I was.
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