Fake News: UK Government Did NOT Sell 10,000 Children To Child Traffickers

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fake News: UK Government Did NOT Sell 10,000 Children To Child Traffickers

Did the U.K. government "accidentally" sell 10,000 children to child traffickers? No, that's not true: the claim was made by a site that takes real news articles and then adds some invented facts to the headline and first paragraphs of its own version of the story, often involving pedophiles or conspiracies. The people behind the site presumably do this to attract a bigger audience so they can benefit from the advertising revenue this brings in.

The story originated from an article published on YourNewsWire on July 8, 2018 titled "UK Gov't: We 'Accidentally' Sold 10,000 Children To Child Traffickers" (archived here) which opened:

The UK government has admitted it 'accidentally' sold at least 10,000 children to known child traffickers in the last year alone.

Tens of thousands of children mysteriously disappear from government care every year, where they are groomed by sex traffickers, recently released government data reveals.

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail, which repeats the claim the children were "sold":

UK Gov't: We 'Accidentally' Sold 10,000 Children To Child Traffickers

The UK government has admitted it 'accidentally' sold at least 10,000 children to known child traffickers in the last year alone.

However the rest of the article does not mention the selling of children at all, accidental or otherwise. The entire thing is based on two articles from The Daily Mail and The Times:

More than 10,000 children in care went missing last year

As many as one in ten children in care went missing in 2017, figures have shown Many children vanished for more than a week and some for more than a month It comes amid fears of child grooming after scandals in Rotherham and Telford More than 10,000 children in care were reported missing last year, amid fears that vulnerable children have been subject to grooming and exploitation.

Child slave gangs go free as police 'fail to investigate'

Children lured to Britain on the promise of trials at Premier League football clubs are among thousands of slaves whose captors are evading justice.

Those articles don't mention selling of children to traffickers by the government either. And they mention that many of the children were missing for short periods of time, implying they eventually were found again.

Of course the fact that so many of them can go missing while in care of the government is still cause for concern. But that is quite different from accusing the government of directly selling them to traffickers as YourNewsWire is doing here in a blatant attempt to pull in clicks and advertising revenue by exploiting people's natural instinct to care about children.

YourNewsWire has published several hoaxes and fake news articles in the past so anything they write or publish should be taken with a large grain of salt. Their Facebook page "The People's Voice" recently lost its verification checkmark according to a report from MMFA.

The Terms of Use of the site also make it clear they don't really stand behind the accuracy of any of their reporting:


The site was profiled in the Hollywood reporter where it was described as:

Your News Wire, a 3-year-old website of murky facts and slippery spin, is published by Sean Adl-Tabatabai and Sinclair Treadway -- a Bernie Sanders supporter in 2016 -- out of an apartment in L.A.'s historic El Royale.

RationalWiki described it as:

YourNewsWire (styled as YourNewsWire.com[1]) is an Los Angeles-based clickbait fake news website known for disseminating conspiracy theories and misleading information, contrary to its claimed motto ("News. Truth. Unfiltered").[1]

A while ago we also reported that YourNewsWire had rebranded itself as NewsPunch by changing its domain name in an apparent effort to evade filtering/blocking. It appears the site has changed back to it's old name in the mean time but you can still see the NewsPunch name in the contact email address in the footer.

We wrote about yournewswire.com before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

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  Maarten Schenk

Maarten Schenk is the co-founder and COO/CTO of Lead Stories and an expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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