Children and young people going missing and being trafficked for the purpose of child exploitation
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A frequent indicator of child exploitation is a child going missing and then being trafficked to be exploited. Children and young people go missing for a variety of reasons. There may have been a misunderstanding about what time they were due to be back or they may have been the victim of a crime.
Trafficking can be when a child or young person is forced, persuaded or even tricked into leaving their home or transported in order to be exploited. Children can be trafficked for a range of reasons including criminal exploitation, sexual exploitation and forced labour.
Perpetrators of trafficking often use physical, emotional and sexual abuse to groom and control those children and young people they are trying to traffic, and this can extend to their families and communities in order to gain their trust. They can also bribe young people with lavish gifts and the promise of money to traffic them and ultimately exploit them which can often mean that victims don’t realise they are victims.
Detective Inspector Lisa Sears from the Child Abuse, Trafficking and Exploitation Team at Warwickshire Police said: “Sadly children and young people are being exploited in Warwickshire and we are working hard to tackle these issues, but need the support from our communities to help us to achieve this.
“We know that train stations, buses and parks are all key locations in which those being exploited are either targeted or trafficked through so we would urge the public to learn to spot the signs that a child or young person is being exploited.”
Signs to look out for are:
- Frequent missing episodes
- A child or young person travelling long distances on public transport
- A child or young person travelling with older unfamiliar acquaintances
- A child wearing expensive clothing and/or accessories
- Hostile or aggressive behaviour
- Obsessed by their mobile phone
- Disengaging from school
- recieving unexpected and expensive gifts or money
- being given cigarettes, alcohol or other expensive items
- hanging out with older people
- being picked up from school by strangers
- using drugs and drinking alcohol
- mood swings
- sometimes disappearing or going missing
- staying out late
- being secretive about where you're going
- being secretive with a mobile phone, laptop, tablet or other electronic devices
- lack of interest in activities and hobbies
- skipping school
Where to go for help and support
- If your child is missing you must report them as missing to the police. When you call the police (on 101 or 999) tell them you are calling to report a child missing. The call handler will then ask for your location and the length of time your child has been missing.
- Missing People charity also offer a free, 24-hour, anonymous phone and SMS helpline, 116 000, enabling young people to disclose information and seek support.
- If you have concerns about yourself or someone you know being victim to human trafficking, please report this to the police on 101. Always call 999 in an emergency.
- You can also contact Warwickshire County Council Family Support on 01926 742274.
- If you are worried about a child or young person being abused or exploited, contact the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub between 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, on 01926 414144. Report it to Warwickshire Police via their website or calling them on 101. Always call 999 in an emergency if you or someone you know is in immediate danger.
- You can talk to trained counsellors on the 24-hour helplines run by ChildLine on 0800 11 11 and the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000
- Contact Crimestoppers confidentially and anonymously on 0800 555 111.
The new Something’s Not Right website is packed full of information and resources around Child Exploitation, including the different types of exploitation, what signs to look for in a child or young person, and what support is available if you or someone you know may be a victim of child exploitation. The website also features some powerful real life stories about victims of CE.
Posted by SC, Corporate Communications