What is Criminal Exploitation of children?
Criminal exploitation of children is a geographically widespread form of harm that is a typical feature of county lines criminal activity: drug networks or gangs groom and exploit children and young people to carry drugs and money from urban areas to suburban and rural areas, market and seaside towns.
Like other forms of abuse and exploitation, county lines exploitation can:
- affect any child or young person (male or female) under the age of 18 years;
- affect any vulnerable adult over the age of 18 years;
- still be exploitation even if the activity appears consensual;
- involve force and/or enticement-based methods of compliance and is often accompanied by violence or threats of violence;
- be perpetrated by individuals or groups, males or females, and young people or adults; and is typified by some form of power imbalance in favour of those perpetrating the exploitation. Whilst age may be the most obvious, this power imbalance can also be due to a range of other factors including gender, cognitive ability, physical strength, status, and access to economic or other resources.
If you suspect this is happening to one of our pupils, inform the Designated Safeguarding Lead, or Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead, or a member of the Safeguarding Team who will inform Social Care.