The team for the Something’s Not Right campaign are appealing to parents, carers, professionals and the wider community to take responsibility to learn about child exploitation, understand how to spot the signs and know how to report it.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and children and young people spending much more time at home, child exploitation is still taking place in many forms.
Child exploitation is the manipulation and/or coercion of young people under the age of 18.
It can manifest itself in different forms, including child abuse, sexual exploitation, county lines drug dealing, human trafficking and online grooming.
It is a crime that can affect any child anywhere, anytime regardless of their social or ethnic background or whether they are a boy or a girl.
Hundreds of children and young people are victims of child exploitation every year in Warwickshire.
A young person from Warwickshire who was a victim of criminal exploitation says: “I’d never even heard of the word exploitation until people started saying that’s what was happening to me.
"I didn’t believe a word of it. I kept thinking, why are they interfering and why can’t people just be happy that I’ve got some new mates that actually bother with me?
“To begin with I thought it was well good that they were a bit older. When I look back now I can see they preyed on me. They made me feel so loved and cared for. Like I was the best thing in the world.
"Then bad things started happening and I just felt trapped.
"I felt as though I had no way out. Luckily that’s when professionals around me starting noticing stuff that worried them and I was given a support worker. With support I was able to understand that these ‘so called’ mates weren’t my mates after all and they were just using me.
“My support worker helped me see that none of this was my fault. I’ve come a pretty decent way since back then and whilst I still have bad days, I’ve got such good support around me and I’ll always be grateful for that.”
To learn more about the Something's Not Right Campaign and Child Exploitation Awareness Day visit www.somethingsnotright.co.ukFollow Warwickshire CE on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and Warwickshire County Council on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to share important content on warning signs, advice and how to report concerns around child exploitation.
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