On Monday, 4th March, our Year 9s saw an interactive play to raise awareness around Child Criminal Exploitation – specifically the strand of the County Lines drug trafficking model that sees vulnerable adults and young people targeted by organised groups and gangs to groom, trick, trap and manipulate them into trafficking drugs and sometimes weapons.
The play was provided by the Stroud District Community Safety Partnership, using funding from the Police Crime Commissioner, because it is unknown how many young people across the country are being forced to take part in gang activity and are being exploited through child criminal exploitation, or ‘County Lines’. The Children’s Commissioner estimates there are at least 46,000 children in England who are involved.
Tragically the young people exploited through ‘County Lines’ can often be seen by professionals as criminals. In Gloucestershire the aim is to recognise these vulnerable children as victims of trafficking and exploitation so that they receive the support they need to deal with the trauma they have been through.
The performance and post show talk showed how gangs are deliberately targeting vulnerable children – those who are homeless, living in care homes or poverty. These children are unsafe, unloved, or unable to cope, and the gangs take advantage of this. The performance was excellent and clearly enhanced our Year 9’s awareness of:
- What is County Lines and how can it affect young people.
- The Grooming process and how it can apply to County Lines.
- The similarities and potential crossovers between Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) and Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE).
- Where to go for help & advice.
Mr. R. Lloyd Learning Community Leader