According to unsubstantiated reports on RT News, which is funded by the Russian government, Vietnamese children were being trafficked into London and forced to work as child slaves on illegal cannabis farms.

On Monday, UK police said they had found a total of 314 illegal cannabis farms in London since 2016 and RT News claimed there was an increasing number of children being trafficked into working in the farms.

Detective superintendent Lee Hill said Vietnamese boys and teenagers were often asked to watch over the farms in case rival gangs approached or a police raid was planned. “I’ve recovered children who are being exploited. They are there to protect the properties,” he said.

Jakub Sobik, a spokesman for Anti-Slavery International, said that potentially thousands of children were being trafficked from Vietnam and exploited by criminal gangs. “The high number of cannabis farms across London and trafficking of Vietnamese children to work in them is extremely worrying,” Sobik said.

In 2017, more than 2,000 victims of child trafficking were referred to authorities in the UK, a 66% increase from the number in 2016. Most faced sexual exploitation, forced labor and domestic servitude.

Read: Four Vietnamese teenagers go missing after arriving in UK