CHILD protection teams suspect that as many as 42 children in Harrow were trafficked in to the borough last year – earning criminals up to £100,000.
It is feared that children from within the UK and as far as eastern Europe, Asia and Africa, have been brought to Harrow and sold for domestic servitude and prostitution.
The staggering figures were revealed at the launch of a Harrow Council led tool kit, which hopes to enable children's agencies to recognise the signs of child trafficking and refer observations on to other bodies concerned.
Philip Ishola, service manager with Harrow Children Services, has been instrumental in developing the pilot, which is expected to be rolled out across the country.
Speaking at the launch Mr Ishola said: "We need to be aware that there are a number of children trafficked in to the UK each year.
"Children are incredibly vulnerable and often families in difficult circumstances believe they are sending them into a better life and a safer environment.
"The reality is these criminals see the vulnerability of these children, promise them the world, but exploit them for money.
"It is crucial that we get all the agencies involved to work together to make sure that this is flagged up as soon as possible and ultimately prevented."
It emerged during the launch, at the Civic Centre in Station Road, today (Friday April 17) that the new safeguards have helped Harrow work on the 42 cases – 21 of which have already been substantiated.
Katie Walker, child trafficking coordinator at the council added: "The reason we have seen this many cases is not because it is a bigger problem here than anywhere else but because we have been more pro-active in finding them.
"These people use many different methods to control these children, from physical abuse to taking documents so they can't escape or not allowing them to formulate friendships.
"These can be babies ranging up to 18 year olds who are often subjected to sexual abuse and lengthy journeys to get here."
Although official statistics claimed in 2007 there were only around 330 cases of child trafficking in the whole of the UK, it is thought a more realistic figure is somewhere between three and five thousand each year.