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Child Exploitation & County Lines

Child criminal exploitation is increasingly used to describe this type of exploitation where children are involved, and is defined as: Child Criminal Exploitation is common in county lines and occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, control, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18. The victim may have been criminally exploited even if the activity appears consensual. Child Criminal Exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology. Criminal exploitation of children is broader than just county lines, and includes for instance children forced to work on cannabis farms or to commit theft.

County lines refers to a new pattern of criminal activity that has seen urban gangs introduce a telephone number in an area outside the city to sell drugs at street level.

Local runners then supply the drugs in these areas. Children are often exploited by gangs to transport and sell the drugs because they are less likely to be known to police and more likely to receive lenient sentences if caught.

Staff are aware of  child criminal exploitation, including ‘County Lines’ and  local safeguarding procedures are followed.  Where there is a risk to life or likelihood of serious immediate harm, cases are immediately reported to the police, including dialing 999 if appropriate.

For the Safeguarding Policy, Child Protection Policy and other relevant policies, go to the Policies section of the website.