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Sturgeon speaks out on Govanhill child abuse claims

A newspaper report alleged Roma children are being exploited in her Glasgow constituency.

Nicola Sturgeon: Urged residents to report concerns to police.
Nicola Sturgeon: Urged residents to report concerns to police. PA

Nicola Sturgeon has urged residents in her constituency to report concerns about child sexual exploitation to the police.

Officers are investigating claims of abuse in Govanhill, Glasgow.

It follows a report in the The Times newspaper last week in which specialist agencies, social workers and residents alleged Roma children are being routinely exploited by parents and relatives.

They claim the practice has been going on for more than a decade but has not been properly addressed by authorities.

Govanhill, which is one of Scotland's most deprived communities, has the highest Roma population in the country.

'Generally we're taking tough action against human trafficking or child exploitation of any description.'
Nicola Sturgeon

Police Scotland said they have "no information or intelligence to substantiate the concerns" but will carry out a full investigation into the claims.

Speaking at an event in Edinburgh, the First Minister said: "I am obviously aware of concerns about that, and concerns that have been expressed in the past.

"I speak to the police regularly in Govanhill about those issues and other issues, and there is a real determination on the part of the police, the council and other authorities to make sure that allegations are fully investigated.

"It is important that anybody with concerns goes to the police, and also we make sure that, not just in Govanhill, but generally we're taking tough action against human trafficking or child exploitation of any description."

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