Home > Child criminal exploitation and the need for consistency.

Selby, Jasmine and Phillips, Robyn and Barnett, Tamara and Thomas, Maria (2022) Child criminal exploitation and the need for consistency. London: Human Trafficking Foundation.

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While awareness of Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) in the UK, and specifically county lines has undeniably increased in recent years, the question of whether this has resulted in better outcomes for criminally exploited young people still remains to be seen. This report provides a summary of two roundtable events entitled ‘County Lines on the Frontline’ and ‘County Lines Through a Strategic Lens’ on the current landscape of CCE, tracing and evaluating the work of key stakeholders and presents recommendations that emerged from these discussions. The purpose of the roundtables was to critically examine what is working and what needs reform in the response, to inform future litigation and produce better outcomes for young people affected by criminal exploitation. The roundtables identified both the exceptional pockets of good practice and the inertia of some key players that are not fully acting upon their responsibility in addressing CCE. What was clear from the roundtables is a need for a national strategy; a response fit to deal with an exploitation type that encompasses multiple government departments, statutory agencies, and frontline organisations and which mirrors and builds on the response to Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE). 


County Lines ‘A term used to describe gangs and organised criminal networks involved in exporting illegal drugs into one or more importing areas [within the UK], using dedicated mobile phone lines or other form of “deal line”. They are likely to exploit children and vulnerable adults to move [and store] the drugs and money and they will often use coercion, intimidation, violence (including sexual violence) and weapons’ - 2018 Home Office Serious Crime Strategy definition.

Going Country: Referring to the movement out of local area to transport and deliver drugs or money in county lines.

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