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County Lines

by The Redbridge Police communications office

Healing Relations PR has received important information from communications office at Redbridge Police station.

What is county lines?  Children as young as 7 are being put in danger by criminals who are taking advantage of how innocent and inexperienced these young people are. Any child can be exploited, no matter their background. Criminal exploitation is also known as ‘county lines’ and is when gangs and organised crime networks groom and exploit children to sell drugs. Often these children are made to travel across counties, and they use dedicated mobile phone lines to supply drugs. The children’s commissioner estimates that there are at least 46,000 children in England are involved in gang activity. It is estimated that around 4,000 of those are in London.

How are children being exploited?  Criminal are deliberately targeting vulnerable children those who are homeless, experiencing learning difficulties, going through family breakdowns, struggling at school, living in care or trapped in poverty.

These criminals groom children into trafficking their drugs for them with the promises of money, friendship and status. Once they’ve been drawn in, these children are controlled using threats, violence and sexual abuse, leaving them traumatised and living in fear.

What are the signs?

: Returning home late

: Being found in areas away from home

: Being secretive about who they are talking to.

: Unexplained absences from school, college training or work.

: Unexplained money, clothes jewellery phones

: Increased disruptive aggressive behaviour

: Coming home with injuries or looking dishevelled

: Meeting with unfamiliar people or associating with a gang.

: Leaving home not telling anyone where they are going.

If you have any concerns about these issues or you know someone who is being exploited in this way, please contact the Metropolitan police on 999 if they are in Immediate threat, or 101 in non-emergency, or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111

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