National Child Exploitation Day was on the 18th March, here are some resources to refresh your knowledge / tool kit in relation to child exploitation. The Eyes Wide Open campaign has further resources on their website for criminal exploitation specific for Merseyside, including videos and the full size posters seen above: https://eyes-open.co.uk (eyes-open.co.uk)
In Knowsley, throughout the Covid19 pandemic:
- CSE has featured mainly on- line. The cohort remains female which means we are still not identifying male victims of CSE. It is very difficult to believe that males are not being exploited on line, when half of Knowsley CSE is online abuse. Please take the time to consider CSE warning signs when thinking about the males we work with and lets not fall into thinking automatically that it is criminal exploitation. Shield has designed a secondary CSE male only workshop which is ready to be presented into our schools in September so hopefully we can start to increase male awareness.
- CCE has seen a significant increase! At the start of lock down there was a 35% increase in referrals into MACE. This is a result of lock down restrictions made it easier for police to detect criminal exploitation and county lines and also there has been an increase in funding from the home office into Merseyside to tackle county lines. Shield Police have also had their first modern day slavery charge! First in Merseyside!
Shield has also become aware of a new term ‘Gift Girls’ which is associated with sexual exploitation and county lines. This phrase has being identified when completing phone downloads. A ‘Gift girl’ is a girl who is coerced to attend or be brought to a location with the intention that they will be ‘Gifted’ to an older male in order for the victim to be raped or gang raped (even if the victim does not see it as that). Young girls are gifted to young males who are used to run a drug line and placed into a trap house by the line owner or middle tier. The girls are gifted to the trappers for sex, to keep the men interested and this is organised by the line owner.
Shield has also recently become aware of Edible Cannabis Sweets that are designed to appeal to children and young people, they are believed to be extremely strong. Please feel free to share to carers and parents so that people can be vigilant if coming across them. The sweets are similar to jelly beans, small bottled drinks and chocolate spreads.
If you have any questions in relation to exploitation then please do not hesitate to email Shield@knowsley.gov.uk or call 0151 443 5028 and speak to one of the team!