Published Tuesday, 24 September 2013
The man, who wished to remain anonymous, said he saw children as young as 11 leaving homes at all hours - but wasn't allowed to stop them or put a hand on them.
He explained that staff are not allowed to restrain them unless they are a danger to themselves or others and cannot lock them in as that would be viewed as confinement.
Speaking to UTV's Sharon O'Neill, the care worker said: "They go out with nothing.
"You would not see them the next day or days later, then they return with money, new mobile phones, plenty of cigarettes.
"Some come back with new clothes on, watches, necklaces, all sorts of jewellery. The difficulty is some of these girls class these men as boyfriends."
The story of child exploitation in Northern Ireland first emerged eleven days ago and since then the care system and police have faced many questions.
Twenty-two young people between 13 and 18 in care here were abused.
Police have confirmed that 18 children identified as potential victims went missing from care more than 400 times in a year and a half.
Officers believe most of the men involved are in their early 20s, although they range from teenagers to 60 year olds. More than 30 arrests have been made so far.
A senior investigating officer and a major investigation team from Crime Operations have now been appointed to lead the inquiry.
Health Minister Edwin Poots is currently considering a review into the revelations - and has encouraged any health workers with information to come forward.
Sharon said: "This care worker spoke about the lengths they went to to bring the children back, searching through the town for them. But they have to be aware of their own safety in all of this. He says the staff do all they can, manage the situation as best they can.
"But at the end of the day they are powerless. The care worker I spoke told says he has told police everything he knows. And they will investigate."
© UTV News