A video campaign has been launched today (Monday 13 May) raising awareness of the criminal gangs who are grooming and exploiting children, young people and vulnerable adults to commit crime on their behalf.
The campaign known as ‘Trapped’, initiated by Programme Challenger - Greater Manchester’s partnership approach to tackling serious organised crime – will see police, local authorities, criminal justice agencies and the voluntary sector working together to tackle and raise awareness of criminal and sexual exploitation and how to report it.
This partnership approach will include the introduction of a specialist, co-located, multi-agency ‘Complex Safeguarding Team’ in every borough across Greater Manchester, building on the work of Programme Challenger and focusing on all aspects of exploitation in addition to supporting victims and disrupting and apprehending those responsible.
The latest campaign features two short films ‘County Lines’ and ’The Present’ that highlight the different ways in which victims can be coerced to carry out criminal activity including arson, violent offences, storing firearms, holding money, criminal damage or assault.
Campaign film - 'The Present'
Recognising that victims may feel ‘Trapped’ and need support to find a way out the campaign will use a series of posters, leaflets and social media channels to help raise awareness of the crime across Greater Manchester and ensure that victims and communities feel confident about identifying and reporting their concerns.
GMP’s Assistant Chief Constable Mabs Hussain said “Criminal exploitation is an abhorrent crime that prays on children and vulnerable adults and we will continue to do everything in our power to support victims and bring those responsible to justice.
“Those subjected to this form of exploitation are victims, not criminals and I want to reassure anybody who feels trapped that there is a way out.
“This campaign will help people recognise when they or a loved one are being targeted for exploitation, giving advice on how to get help and report it. Effective action to tackle this issue relies on early reporting so I would urge anyone with any concerns to get in touch”
Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Bev Hughes, said: “Criminal exploitation is a vile form of modern slavery, where people are treated as commodities. Children and vulnerable adults are being exploited, threatened and trapped by organised crime groups to do their criminal work. It must be stopped.
“I am proud to be supporting this campaign and the ongoing positive work which is being carried out across Greater Manchester to protect those who find themselves ‘trapped’ and raise awareness of criminal exploitation.”
Signs that a young or vulnerable person could be ‘Trapped’ and need help are:
Young people going missing / 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 / older individuals or groups
Significant decline in school results / performance
Self-harm or significant changes in emotional wellbeing – appearing withdrawn, anxious or depressed
Anyone with concerns either about themselves or somebody else should contact Greater Manchester Police on 101 or via the LiveChat facility on the GMP website in a non-emergency situation
Report anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.