North Cumbria Integrated care NHS Foundation Trust is joining Cumbria Constabulary and partner agencies to spread awareness surrounding Child Exploitation issues on today's (March 18) National Child Exploitation (CE) Awareness Day 2020.
CE is an umbrella term for a range of exploitive crimes against children, such as sexual and criminal exploitation which includes modern day slavery and county lines drugs trafficking.
This type of exploitation can be difficult to spot, which is one of the reasons why this awareness day was set up to help get the message out to the public that child exploitation does happen in their local communities and what signs they should look out for which may mean that someone they know could be a victim or perpetrator of child exploitation.
Detective Inspector James Yallop said: “Supporting children who are being abused or targeted for the purposes of exploitation remains an absolute priority for the Constabulary. It is important that we are able to identify children who may be vulnerable to exploitation as early as we can – that is why this campaign is so important.
“If everyone understands the vulnerabilities and indicators around child exploitation, it means they can report this quickly. Children will be listened to, they will be supported and abusers will be dealt with. Child exploitation including criminal exploitation and county lines is child abuse and it must stop.”
There are signs that parents/carers can look out for which may indicate that a child is being exploited including:
- Going missing for periods of time or regularly returning home late
- skipping school or being disruptive in class
- Receiving unexplained gifts or possessions that can’t be accounted for
- Being secretive about where they are going or who they are with
- having mood swings and changes in temperament
- using drugs and/or alcohol
Anyone with concerns about child exploitation can contact police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Always call 999 in an emergency.
For more information on organisations that can help visit: https://www.cumbria.police.uk/Advice-Centre/Personal-Safety/Child-Sexual-Exploitation.aspx