County lines grooming is growing
The number of children groomed into county lines - the trafficking of drugs across counties - is increasing. It is estimated that phone lines associated to drug deals has almost tripled in the past year.
county lines is growing
Children aged 15-17 are the most likely to be groomed into criminal exploitation. However, we have seen children as young as six being manipulated into trafficking and selling drugs.
During the Covid-19 outbreak, criminal gangs have been dressing young people as keyworkers, such as Deliveroo workers, to deliver drugs during lockdown. These new methods are making it even more difficult for authorities to monitor and control an already widespread problem.
county lines facts 2020
increase in drug arrests in London since the start of lockdown
increase in children referred for support by councils in relation to modern slavery
helping children that have been exploited
We work to end exploitation, by connecting agencies, working with police and ensuring that children are reported missing if they’re missing from home or care.
Our project workers go on police operations and and are able to start a dialogue with children found at trap houses and crime scenes. We let a child know that we’re not the police and we’re not social services and the child or parent then engages with us much more quickly.
We are able to respond to the child early so they understand what’s going on and aren’t simply arrested and defined as a criminal. We want these children to receive the support they need to build a brighter future.