A teenage sex slave escaped from a brothel and sought help from residents in south east London.

The Vietnamese girl, who cannot speak English, appeared at the home of Christine Bonner in Milton Road, Gravesend, at around 8pm on July 18.

She later told a translator she had been sold as a sex slave and had escaped from a house.

Shop worker Mrs Bonner, 65, said: "She was sitting on my wall and then started looking through my window. I rang my daughter who came over with her friend."

Her daughter, 38-year-old mum-of-two Kerri Bonner, said: "We gave her a cup of tea and biscuits.

"She was holding the cup like it was a baby. We just cuddled her and tried to comfort her."

The housewife added: "It's the last thing you expect.

"I will never forget this girl until the day I die."

Miss Bonner said the girl's eyes were "souless".

She added: "You could see she had been to hell and back. When the police came she was cowering and became frightened again.

"As she left she bowed to each of us. I wish I could have done more to help her."

Miss Bonner's friend Samantha Bunn, a mum-of-two who lives in Stanley Crescent, Gravesend, said: "She was a child. She only looked about 16 or 17 years old. She was scared and crying. She said her name was E."

The 33-year-old added: "I feel disgusted. You know it goes on and see it on TV but you don't expect it to happen in Gravesend.

"She had lots of white bags stuffed inside her bag. They looked like nappy sacks."

Mrs Bunn said officers told her they would try to get the teenager to point out the house she escaped from. The women do not know where the house is.

A police spokesman said: "Patrols attended immediately and the woman was taken into custody at Gravesend police station before being put into the hands of the immigration services."

And a Home Office spokesman said it does not comment on individual cases.

He added the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, which aims to combat child sex abuse, published a report on the extent of child trafficking on June 11.

The writers of the report believe 330 children were trafficked into the UK between March 2005 and December last year.

Later this year a police-led operation, Pentameter Two, will aim to rescue trafficked women and girls from commercial sexual exploitation.