Look Closer

Exploited children and young people don't always look vulnerable and may not act like victims.

If something doesn't feel right, it may not be.

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Public spaces like bus and train stations, fast food outlets, hotels and roadside services can be where young victims of criminal exploitation are most visible.


If we all learn to spot the signs of a young person being exploited, we can all help to keep them safe and stop this abuse from happening.

CONTACTS FOR REPORTING EXPLOITATION

#LOOKCLOSER

Don't wait. Report it.

Young people who have been exploited:

  • Don't always look vulnerable
  • Don't always act like victims
  • May not understand they are being exploited
  • May have a distrust of police/adults in authority
  • Can feel scared what might happen to them next
  • Need to feel safe and heard, so they feel comfortable talking about what might be happening to them

Young people can be exploited anywhere, but these locations are particularly common sites where you may be able to spot the signs:

Public transport: trains, trams, coaches and buses are all methods of transport used by organised crime groups to traffic children for exploitation.

Service stations: children and young people being trafficked for exploitation may often stop at service and petrol stations to use the bathroom or get food.

Fast-food outlets/shopping centres: these provide familiar environments, affordable food and access to wifi. Some outlets are open 24 hours a day.

Hotels: perpetrators often use hotel rooms to groom and exploit children and young people for sexual abuse or criminality. Hotels can be used as a base by organised crime groups to store, prepare and distribute drugs.

Taxis and ride shares: taxis and private ride share apps can be used to transport exploited children and young people.

Schools, colleges and uni: young people who are exploited may struggle to maintain their education. Changes in their behaviour, appearance and attendance can be signs that something is not right.

Public transport: trains, trams, coaches and buses are all methods of transport used by organised crime groups to traffic children for exploitation.

Service stations: children and young people being trafficked for exploitation may often stop at service and petrol stations to use the bathroom or get food.

Fast-food outlets: these provide familiar environments, affordable food and access to wifi. Some outlets are open 24 hours a day.

Hotels: perpetrators often use hotel rooms to groom and exploit children and young people for sexual abuse or criminality. Hotels can be used as a base by organised crime groups to store, prepare and distribute drugs.

Taxis and ride shares: taxis and private ride share apps can be used to transport exploited children and young people.

Schools, colleges and uni: young people who are exploited may struggle to maintain their education. Changes in their behaviour, appearance and attendance can be signs that something is not right. 

If something is worrying you about a young person's behaviour or appearance, please report it. Do not approach groups of young people or break lockdown rules. When reporting...

Give location, a clear description and why you are concerned

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As the government lockdown and social distancing measures continue there is growing concern for children and young people who may be at risk of exploitation and abuse.

School closures, restricted services and lack of face to face support mean that there may be less opportunities to protect children at risk.


Signs and indicators

Remember these indicators may not mean a young person is being exploited, but are a guide to the kinds of behaviours that may be of concern during Covid-19, such as a young person...

⚪ Travelling on transport alone, or in a small group

⚪ Using taxis or ride share services

⚪ Getting in and out of private vehicles

⚪ Seen along canals or other isolated areas

⚪ Forced to dress as a key worker to avoid detection

⚪ Spending time in or outside spaces that are now closed to the public: fastfood outlets, shops, parks

⚪ Frequenting an address that is not their home

⚪ Looking lost or in unfamiliar surroundings

⚪ Being controlled or instructed by another individual

⚪ Anxious, frightened, angry or displaying other behaviours that make you worried about them

⚪ In possession of more than one phone

⚪ Carrying lots of cash

⚪ Potentially under the influence of drugs or alcohol

DOWNLOAD THE #LOOKCLOSER LEAFLET

Help us protect children and young people from all forms of exploitation.

Don't wait. Report it.

⚪ If you are concerned about a child and think it's an emergency, dial 999 or 101 if it's not an emergency. 

⚪ On a train, text British Transport Police on 61016

⚪ Otherwise contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111


Information and resources produced in collaboration with British Transport Police and East Midlands Special Operations Unit.

Help us protect children and young people from all forms of exploitation.

Don't wait. Report it.

⚫ If you are concerned about a child and think it's an emergency, dial 999 or 101 if it's not an emergency

⚫ On a train, text British Transport Police on 61016

⚫ Otherwise, contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111

OUR WORK TACKLING CHILD EXPLOITATION