What is County Lines?
Saturday 5th January 2019
How many young people are affected by 'county lines'?
No one really knows how many young people across the country are being forced to take part, but The Children's Commissioner estimates there are at least 46,000 children in England who are involved in gang activity. It is estimated that around 4,000 teenagers in London alone are being exploited through child criminal exploitation, or 'county lines'.
Tragically the young people exploited through 'county lines' can often be seen by professionals as criminals.
However, we want these vulnerable children to be recognised as victims of trafficking and exploitation. We want them to receive the support they need to deal with the trauma they have been through.
How are children being exploited?
Gangs are deliberately targeting vulnerable children - those who are homeless, living in care homes or trapped in poverty. These children are unsafe, unloved, or unable to cope, and the gangs take advantage of this.
These gangs groom, threaten or trick children into trafficking their drugs for them. They might threaten a young person physically, or they might threaten the young person's family members. The gangs might also offer something in return for the young person's cooperation - it could be money, food, alcohol, clothes and jewellery, or improved status - but the giving of these gifts will usually be manipulated so that the child feels they are in debt to their exploiter.
However they become trapped in county lines, the young people involved feel as if they have no choice but to continue doing what the gangs want.
Faces Education would like to open a Cannabis Education Centre with the option for Under 18s to come and speak to a 3rd party in confidence. We want to tackle County Lines in North Somerset and by giving the kids somewhere to go, they will feel safer and more open to discussing their grooming experience.