Supporting victims of

criminal exploitation

Faye's story

Supporting victims of criminal exploitation

Our work tackling criminal exploitation

Faye* is one of our project workers, who specialises in helping victims of criminal exploitation, sometimes known as ‘county lines’. We have hidden her identity because revealing her real name could place her and the children she works with in grave danger.

Faye has witnessed first-hand children who are emotionally and physically exploited by violent criminal gangs.

'Criminal exploitation is a very serious form of abuse'

Vulnerable children across the country are being taken advantage of by criminal gangs, some as young as 12 years old. They are being trafficked across the country and forced to sell drugs, putting them in frightening and dangerous situations.

Watch Faye’s experience of working with children affected by criminal exploitation.

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'They will pick children who haven't got a family, or security or love'


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.

The gangs take advantage of anything they can to manipulate and brainwash. The children tell us they’re promised money, protection or just a hope of belonging but that soon stops and abuse starts.

'Everything that goes on around them becomes almost like living in a nightmare world that they can't escape'


They’re made to stay in trap houses – drug dens – and they have to deal with the worst experiences that you can imagine. They may be forced to hold guns or knives as well as large quantities of drugs.

If they are robbed, or lose any of these items, they may be subject to reprisals such as torture, kidnapping and severe physical and sexual abuse.

We work closely with victims of criminal exploitation

'We work closely with children to help them understand that they have been a victim and break free from the cycle of exploitation'

At the Children’s Society project workers like me are working with these children, trying to keep them safe from gangs. We work with them one on one, for as long as it takes, building trusted relationships and giving them someone to turn to for support. We give them the support they need, to help them come to terms with their terrible experiences.

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Find out more about our work to tackle criminal exploitation

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