Force supports National Child Exploitation Awareness Day
Today, (18 March) is National Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Awareness Day. This important day aims to highlight the issues surrounding CSE; encouraging everyone to think, spot and speak out against abuse and adopt a zero tolerance to adults developing inappropriate relationships with children or children developing inappropriate relationships with other children.
What is Child Sexual Exploitation?
Sexual Exploitation of children and young people under 18 involves situations and relationships where young persons (or third persons) receive ‘something’ such as food, drugs, alcohol, gifts, money, as a result of them performing, and/or others performing on them, sexual activities. This is often referred to as grooming.
CSE can also occur through the use of technology without the child’s immediate recognition, eg being persuaded to post sexual images on the internet without immediate payment and gain.
‘This is also known as grooming’
What is the City of London Police doing to tackle CSE and support the campaign?
The City of London Police is committed to tackling this issue and highlighting that it is everyone’s responsibility to safeguard and protect children. The City of London Police will take all reports of suspicious activity with children seriously and encourage reports from all aspects of the community.
The City of London Police are joining forces with our neighbouring Metropolitan Police boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Hackney in order to inform, educate and prevent this form of child sexual abuse to businesses in our local areas.
‘Operation Makesafe’ is an initiative to highlight the responsibilities of the community to report any concerns of CSE. This is being launched to coincide with the national awareness day.Operation Makesafe will seek to raise awareness within the hospitality, transport and licensed premises trades around the possible warning signs to look out for when coming into contact with young people they believe may be at risk of sexual exploitation.
The aim is to educate employees at hotels, serviced apartments, bars and pubs, and taxi drivers are being targeted in order to raise their awareness of the warning signs and what information to give when they call police.
Jim Gamble QPM, the Independent Chair of the City & Hackney Safeguarding Children Board (CHSCB) said, "Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) has no place in our society, with children and young people at risk of this abuse needing to be seen, heard and helped if they are to be effectively protected. The launch of Operation Makesafe allows the business community to better play their part in safeguarding children and young people from CSE; raising awareness and providing an easy contact point where concerns can be raised. The CHSCB is fully supporting this Police led initiative and on behalf of the children and young people of the City, encourages all business owners to demonstrate their commitment to preventing and tackling this vile crime."
DI Anna Rice of the force’s Public Protection Unit said:
"We all have a role to play in keeping children and young people safe from sexual exploitation. We are working with businesses to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation. We hope that by working together we can identify, protect and safeguard those who may be at risk"
Operation Makesafe hopes to raise awareness amongst the City of London community in order to assist the police in dealing with this terrible crime and the safeguarding of children. Please do not hesitate to call police if you have any concerns.
During the week of action, the force’s Public Protection Unit will be supporting Operation Makesafe by visiting hotels, serviced apartments and licensed premises and arranging for them bespoke CSE-awareness training by specially trained officers, allowing them not only to recognise those scenarios which should raise concerns; but also what action should be taken if they suspect a child is at risk. Schools officers will be working with CSE aware teachers and community leaders to raise awareness and prevent children from being groomed into CSE.
What to look out for
Examples of signs to look out for include:
- Adults who appear secretive or are trying to hide the fact that they are with a young person.
- Adults befriending young people, including buying them food and drinks
- Young people being picked up and taken to hotels, particularly at odd times of the day and night
- Adults who frequently come into premises with different young people
- Young people who, although with peers, look uncomfortable or under duress
If you have any concerns that a child you know may be a victim of Child Sexual Exploitation report it by calling 101 or you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. In an emergency or if a crime is ongoing always dial 999.