April 17, 2024

Appeal to help stop “cruel exploitation” of children across the North West and North Wales

The charity Crimestoppers has this week launched a campaign across the North West and North Wales warning that children and young people are being manipulated, coerced and enduring abusive control by adults and their peers.

The charity is appealing for the public to take a stand and speak up anonymously with information that can be passed on to Crimestoppers in order to identify and safeguard young victims.

The six-week campaign focuses on:

  • County Lines drug dealing
  • Child Sexual Exploitation
  • Young people forced or tricked into moving money
  • Holding or moving of guns
  • Debt bondage
  • Coercion into theft, robbery, or violence.

Criminals prey on young people, who are often vulnerable, and it is important that parents, friends, teachers, professionals who work with young people, and the children and young people themselves are aware of the warning signs and how to access help and support.

Using social and traditional media, the charity’s campaign highlights the different types of abuse, and signposts to our website, and to Fearless.org, where people can access more information on these different types of criminal exploitation. They can also find out how to report what they know, 100% anonymously.

Any suspicions about County Lines, Child Sexual Exploitation, Child Criminal Exploitation, violence, organised drug gangs, weapons and victims can be passed on to Crimestoppers 100% anonymously. You will never be asked for any of your personal details. Call freephone 0800 555 111 at any time or complete a secure online form at Crimestoppers-uk.org.

Alternatively, young people can visit Fearless.org where more can also be learnt about the warning signs of exploitation and abuse. Fearless offers young people non-judgemental advice so they can make informed decisions about lifestyle choices and realise that they have an alternative option when reporting crime.

Gary Murray, North West Regional Manager at the charity Crimestoppers, said:

“This cruel exploitation, with criminals increasingly targeting young people and children across our region, is causing misery to those who sadly get involved and their families.

“Everyone has a part to play in helping protect our young people from those who seek to groom, profit from and exploit them, both within our communities locally and online.

“We know that criminals manipulate, use violence and intimidation to coerce individuals to do what they want them to do. This level of exploitation often leads to people feeling that they have become trapped and not knowing how to get out.

“We are asking the public to remain vigilant to the signs of grooming and to be aware of the three grooming stages of ‘targeting, testing and trapping’. We are also appealing to everyone to help protect vulnerable members in our community from County Lines drug dealing, Child Sexual Exploitation and other forms of criminal exploitation by telling our charity anonymously what you know.”

Please note: With Fearless.org and Crimestoppers-uk.org, computer IP addresses are never traced, and no-one will ever know you contacted Crimestoppers. For telephone calls to the charity via freephone 0800 555 111, we have no caller line display, no 1471 facility and we have never traced a call.