For years the ‘County Lines’ battle has been perplexing police and local authorities, as to how they can eliminate the criminal drug networks that coerce and take advantage of children – as young as 7 years old.
This is an increasingly worrying situation for vulnerable and trafficked young people, on our streets, here in the UK.
“The Children’s Commissioner estimates there are at least 46,000 children in England who are involved in gang activity.….
With around 4,000 of these being children who are in London alone….And they are being exploited through child criminal gangs or ‘county lines’.”
So, what do we mean by ‘County Lines’?
The term ‘County Lines’ is given to drug gangs who come from large cities and who are looking to expand their activities to smaller areas (across county lines). These drug gangs are using exploitative methods to persuade vulnerable children and young people (often with mental health or addiction problems) to move and sell their stock.
This is a concerning issue. That’s why we’re asking the question. Where are these crimes attributed to?
Is it the decrease in the family community? Our governments inability to work across regional boundaries?
Whilst both of these are seen as issues, they are only the enterprise wherein children can be exploited, and what we need to be asking is why have the numbers increased, and how can we prevented further activity?
Prevention Education, is it the answer?
Here, at Love146 UK, we serve unaccompanied and young people from abroad who are victims of human trafficking. Therefore, we work to increase our ability to recognise victims. And this benefits all young people and children, and not just those we support.
That’s why all our practitioners go through in-depth training which is implemented in our care programs.
Since opening our doors over fifteen years ago, we have seen that our prevention education training has given frontline staff the ability and knowledge to better recognise young trafficked victims, in our communities.
“These safeguards are essential to break the connection between the survivor and their trafficker.“ Lynne Chitty – Head of Care at Love146 UK.
Therefore, our prevention education can and does play a major role in the ‘County Lines’ battle. By using practice-based evidence, to identify the journey that exploited young people have been on. And, how they became the victims of criminal exploitation – through ‘County Lines’.
“Together we can look beneath the surface, and help improve the lives of vulnerable young people.”
If you want to recognise the signs of trafficking? Or find out more information about what Love146 UK are doing to fight child trafficking and exploitation? Then please sign up to our newsletter and follow our stories on social media. You can join us in the fight to end child trafficking, once and for all.