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 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
  • May appear angry or aggressive; these are common signs of trauma
  • Can feel scared about what might happen to them next
  • Need to feel safe and heard, so that 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 used by organised crime groups to transport children for exploitation

Petrol/service stations: Young people who are being exploited may stop at service and petrol stations to use the bathroom or get food.

Car washes: Young people trafficked into the country are sometimes made to work in this setting.

Fast-food outlets/shopping centres: These popular youth spaces provide affordable food and access to wi-fi. Some outlets are open 24 hours a day. Perpetrators sometimes take advantage of this.

Hotels: Perpetrators often use hotel rooms or private lets to sexually abuse and criminally exploit young people. They can also 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 young people.

Hair and beauty salons: Young people who are trafficked into the country are sometimes made to work and stay in these settings.

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

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. Is the young person...

⚪ Travelling alone, particularly in school hours, late at night or frequently?

⚪ Looking lost or in unfamiliar surroundings?

⚪ 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?

⚪ Being instructed or controlled by another individual?

⚪ Accompanied by individuals who are older than them?

⚪ Seen begging in a public place?

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