Child Exploitation – the more you know, the more you see
Children and young people may be vulnerable to abuse or exploitation from within their family and from individuals they come across in their day-to-day lives. These threats can take a variety of different forms, including: sexual, physical and emotional abuse; neglect; exploitation by criminal gangs and organised crime groups; trafficking; online abuse; sexual exploitation and the influences of extremism leading to radicalisation. (From the Pan-Dorset Website)
What is Child Sexual Exploitation?
Child Sexual Exploitation is Child Abuse. Any young person could become a victim, regardless of their social or ethnic background.
Victims are often coerced into sexual relationships which they confuse with love and attention. They risk damage to their physical, emotional and psychological health.
- Sexual exploitation is a form of sexual abuse in which a young person is manipulated or forced into taking part in a sexual act often in return for attention, affection, money, drugs, alcohol or accommodation.
- The child might think that their abuser is their friend or boyfriend but the abuser might physically or verbally threaten them and be violent towards them. They will control and manipulate them and try to isolate them from friends and family.
- In organised sexual exploitation young people are passed through networks where they are forced into sexual activity with a number of men. This often takes place at ‘sex parties’ and the young people may be used to recruit others into the network.
What is Criminal Child Exploitation?
Criminal exploitation is child abuse where children and young people are manipulated and coerced into committing crimes. It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of a person under the age of 18 and may coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under that age into any activity
- In exchange for something the victim needs or wants
- And/Or for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator
- and/or (c) Through violence or the threat of violence.
The victim may be exploited even if the activity appears consensual (i.e. moving drugs or the proceeds of drugs from one place to another). Child Criminal Exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology. (Home Office 2018)
What are County Lines?
County Lines is the police term for urban gangs exploiting young people into moving drugs from a hub, normally a large city, into other markets – suburban areas and market and coastal towns – using dedicated mobile phone lines or “deal lines”. Children as young as 12 years old have been exploited into carrying drugs for gangs. This can involve children being trafficked away from their home area, staying in accommodation and selling and manufacturing drugs. This can include:
- Airbnb and short term private rental properties
- budget hotels
- the home of a drug user, or other vulnerable person, that is taken over by a criminal gang- this may be referred to as cuckooing.
(Information taken from the NSPCC website)
County Lines & Child Exploitation | The Children’s Society (childrenssociety.org.uk)
Useful contacts and information:
If you have concerns that a child you know may be a victim of Child Exploitation you can report it to your local police on 101 or Dorset Do it Online or you can contact Children’s Social care:
Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Safeguarding Advice (Children’s First Response Hub) 01202 123334
BCP Out of Hours Service: 01202 738256 Website: bcpcouncil.gov.uk
Dorset Safeguarding Advice: 01305 228866
Dorset Out of Hours Service: 01305 228558
Parents Against Child Exploitation (Pace) UK (paceuk.info) – helps parents fight to keep their children safe