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Police + Fire

Greater Manchester stands together against exploitation

#Stillachild campaign image

No matter the image a young person portrays to the world they are still a child – that’s the message to Greater Manchester communities as part of a week of action to raise awarenesss of child exploitation.  

The campaign’s powerful imagery highlights how children can be misjudged or stereotyped due to their behaviour, who they socialise with or the clothes or make-up they wear.

The message of the campaign is simple – any person under the age of 18 years of age is still a child and they are vulnerable to exploitation.

Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester, Bev Hughes, said: “No matter the image a young person portrays to the outside world they are still a child – that’s the important message behind this week of action to raise awareness of exploitation.

“There are, sadly, numerous ways in which a child might be exploited. It might include criminal exploitation or even sexual exploitation.

“Child exploitation is a despicable crime and tackling it in our city-region is an absolute priority. Police, local authorities and our other criminal justice partners are doing more to tackle this problem now than ever before, but we require the support and cooperation of the public to make this illegal behaviour a thing of the past.

“Children deserve a childhood. If you are worried about a young person or think you have spotted any of the warning signs, please immediately report your concerns to the police.”

The week of action, beginning Monday 7 October, started with the broadcast of a film highlighting how young people can become involved in organised crime, and explores the signs to look out for of someone who is being exploited.

Warning signs include:

  • Young people going missing or travelling to areas where they have no obvious links or connections
  • Unexpected, repeated or prolonged absence from school
  • Money, clothes or accessories which they are unable to account for
  • Receiving an excessive amount of texts and phone calls
  • Relationships with controlling or older individuals or groups
  • Carrying weapons
  • A significant decline in school results or performance
  • Self-harm or significant changes in emotional wellbeing – appearing withdrawn, anxious or depressed

The impactful film stars pupils from Oulder Hill secondary school in Rochdale and will be sent out for use in schools across Greater Manchester as part of an education pack.

Tackling the exploitation of children and vulnerable people is a priority for GMP and partners, which combines the work of police, local authorities, criminal justice agencies and the voluntary sector who work together to tackle and raise awareness of criminal exploitation and how to report it.

This partnership approach has led to the introduction of a specialist multi-agency Complex Safeguarding Team sited in every borough of Greater Manchester. These teams have been building on the work of Programme Challenger and It’s Not Okay  to focus on all aspects of exploitation, in addition to supporting victims and disrupting and apprehending those responsible.

Article Published: 08/10/2019 16:58 PM