Tackling criminal exploitation

Children as young as 7 are being put in danger by criminals who are taking advantage of how vulnerable these young people are. This is sometimes known as county lines
We work closely with victims of criminal exploitation, giving them the support they need and trying to keep them safe from gangs

Our work tackling county lines

What is county lines?

County lines is a growing problem in the UK. Gangs are exploiting vulnerable young people, some just 12 years old, to carry drugs and sell them to other parts of the country.

Often, these children are assumed missing and when they turn up out of their area and in trouble with the police they are criminalised and not seen as victims. They can go for days without food and are forced to live in awful, squat conditions

Our work to stop county lines

We are seen as sector leaders, working with the police to stop county lines activity and recognise the young people that have been exploited by criminal gangs as victims, not criminals.

We create resources that are used by professionals across many fields and deal with children who are suffering from the horrendous circumstances they have been subjected to.

Disrupting Exploitation

Our Disrupting Exploitation Programme is for children and young people who are at risk of exploitation, with a focus on child criminal exploitation.

We work one-to-one with young people and on systems change. Our systems change work is focused on the policies, procedures, contexts and cultures around young people to improve the response to children in comparable situations in the future.

A practitioner's story

Faye tells us the common stories of children that are exploited by criminal gangs.

'Vulnerable children are targeted; it could be the fact that a child is homeless, on their own a lot, or have no one to turn to for help.'

If you're a concerned parent

We've developed resources for parents and professionals if you're worried a young person is involved in county lines.

The guidance is availlable in eight languages.

Online exploitation information and advice

Use our interactive tool to learn more about the risks of being online, the signs of online exploitation, and what to do if you think someone is being groomed or exploited.