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Trapped – Could you Spot the Signs?

Press Release: 15/05/2019

A video campaign has been launched 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’ has been 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, supported by Tameside Council, approach will include the introduction of a specialist, co-located, multi-agency ‘Complex Safeguarding Team’ in every borough focusing on all aspects of exploitation in addition to supporting victims and disrupting and apprehending those responsible. The Tameside team has been carrying out targeted operational activity during the week of action, successfully developing intelligence and disrupting crime.
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.
It also aims to highlight the signs that a young or vulnerable person may feel trapped. These are:
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
  • Carrying weapons
  • Significant decline in school results / performance
  • Self-harm or significant changes in emotional wellbeing – appearing withdrawn, anxious or depressed
Tameside Council Executive Member for Children and Families Cllr Oliver Ryan said: “We’re pleased to support this campaign and I would strongly urge people to watch the videos, which give a real insight into the forms that criminal exploitation of young and vulnerable people can take. We are also be working closely with our partners in Tameside to raise awareness of this type of activity and take action to tackle the issue.”
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.”
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.
Young people can also report anonymously via the Fearless website (the Crimestoppers brand for young people)
Always dial 999 when there is an immediate threat to life or a crime in progress.
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