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Don't give up
no matter how
dark things seem

Don't give upno matter howdark things seem

County lines and child criminal exploitation

Children as young as six are being forced to carry and sell drugs far away from their homes. They are made to skip school, sleep in drug dens, keep secrets from their loved ones. They are treated as criminals when they often feel trapped in a hopeless situation.

Enough is enough. County lines and child exploitation must stop. We work hard to end this type of abuse and give those who have been exploited a chance for a better future.

How many young people are caught up in county lines?


children in England are thought to be involved in gangs. There is likely many more.


of parents are worried about county lines in their area.


teenagers are being criminally exploited in London alone.

How we help children affected by criminal exploitation

We work hard to stop criminal exploitation of children and make sure it doesn’t define a young person’s future. Young people who have been exploited come to us and we make sure they're treated as victims, not criminals. We help them rebuild their trust and make sure they're not targeted by criminal groups again.

Disrupting exploitation

disrupting exploitation video teaser

Disrupting exploitation

Our Disrupting Exploitation Programme, funded by National Lottery Community Fund, makes children safer, gives them a better understanding of exploitation, and improves their relationships with family and friends.

Many will have missed out on school, healthy friendships, ‘normal’ things teenagers do. With their willingness and energy, our therapy sessions help them rebuild trust. 75% of young people we worked with reported feeling safer.

We also work with the police, local authorities, the NHS and schools. Through our award-winning project with the Metropolitan Police, we trained over 1,000 staff working in custody to build rapport with children, identify risks early on and take the right steps to keep the child out of custody in the future.

With everything we do, we ensure young voices are heard. Their experiences and stories feed back into shaping these programmes.

young woman looking to camera strong

My life changed

My life changed


£5 monthly

£5 a month could pay for a hot meal, shower and living essentials for a young runaway

Select £5

£10 monthly

£10 a month could pay for a front line worker's phone so children in danger can contact them

Select £10

£20 monthly

£20 a month could pay for a family to have mediation sessions to resolve conflict at home

Select £20

Select your own amount monthly


Whether it’s a little or a lot, give as much as you can and make a huge difference to a young person

Visa, Mastercard and PayPal payment methods accepted.

Avoiding exploitation

school girl sitting on a bar outside dangling her trainer sole toward the camera

Our Climb programme gets young people off the streets and involved in sports, dance, arts and music. By offering activities to those who are skipping college or missing from home, we reduce the chances of them being taken in by criminal gangs. 

This transformative service is the first of its kind in the country. It enables young people to learn skills, stay active and make positive choices. They form healthy friendships and learn how to recognise people and situations that might put them at risk.

Together with schools, police, social care, activity providers and other groups, we work to build more positive opportunities for children and young people, away from county lines drug trafficking and organised crime.

boots of young person on swing

What is county lines?

County lines is more prevalent in the UK than you might think. It's not just a 'big city problem' that affects young people from a certain age group or background. 

Preventing exploitation

Preventing exploitation

Our Prevention Programme empowers professionals and the public to help keep children safe. In our first year people we trained said they felt more confident in spotting the signs and responding to cases of county lines and criminal exploitation.

We focus on how public spaces like bus and train stations, fast food outlets, shopping centres, roadside services and hotels may be places where exploitation is visible. We talk to commuters, coach drivers and railway staff about how to identify children being exploited. Through this project, we have identified potential victims and helped them to escape dangerous situations. 

We now work alongside the British Transport Police, delivering workshops across the country. Through our training, officers are less likely to treat the child as a criminal, and more likely to help them get the right support.  

young man big smile outside

Prevention Programme impact


professionals, including police, took part in our Prevention Programme


of them felt better able to support young people afterwards

Are you worried about a child being criminally exploited?

If you think a young person you know could be in immediate danger call 999, or if you have non-urgent information to share with the police, contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

If you are concerned about a child’s welfare, contact your local social care department. We also have a guide for parents who may be concerned about their child being caught up in county lines.

school girl walking through train station looking at phone

What is financial exploitation?

A growing concern across the country involves criminals approaching children and young people online through gaming and social media platforms, and in places like shops and cashpoints with offers of quick cash and fake job opportunities, only to use and control their bank accounts to commit fraud and launder money from organised crime.