Briefing for Partners

Briefing Video

A partnership campaign will be running on Wednesday 5 April to raise awareness of child exploitation at stations and transport networks in Essex. Under the banner of Operation Henderson, the joint initiative is being run by Essex Safeguarding Children Board, Southend and Thurrock Safeguarding Children Partnerships alongside partners including British Transport Police, Essex Police, the Violence and Vulnerability Unit, Greater Anglia, C2C, TfL, The Railway Children, The Children’s Society, Social Care and local councils.

The outreach workers will be travelling along identified key routes in Essex and talking to members of the public as well as staff working within and around stations, from ticket collectors to engineers, coffee shop workers to cleaners, who all play an important role in safeguarding vulnerable young people, plus awareness training for these staff.

Local outreach workers and community police will be engaging with passengers, businesses and young people at train and bus stations along identified key routes in Essex, raising awareness about signs of exploitation and where to report concerns.

Research and local data have shown transport networks are used by vulnerable young people who may be at risk of sexual exploitation, criminal exploitation and trafficking. Young people often gravitate towards stations because they are anonymous places that also provide some form of shelter and access to food and drink. A young person may use a station or form of public transport in an attempt to disappear. Bus and rail networks can also be used by abusers to traffic young people for the purpose of sexual and criminal exploitation.

There is a bitesize training session from The Railway Children for transport workers and businesses which is available on the Campaign Website

Partners can access campaign material on our Campaign Website. Resources include leaflets for taxi drivers, bus operators and businesses who are key in spotting suspicious activity. There are also videos and social media graphics to utilise in your organisation’s communications channels. The ESCB also has a Webpage for young people with resources and information about exploitation including criminal, sexual and online, which you may find useful to use in your channels.

Aimed at members of the public and transport workers and parents/carers

Did you know trains are often used by young people who may be vulnerable to exploitation? If you see something that doesn’t feel right, know how to report concerns by texting British Transport Police on 61016, calling the Police on 101 or reporting to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Criminal exploitation doesn’t just affect boys. Girls are being targeted by criminal networks to run drugs using public transport as they’re less likely to be spotted in the community.

Did you know young people being sexually exploited are often following instructions by their exploiter and may be meeting unknown adults at their destination? Report concerns if you see a vulnerable young person using public transport. Call the Police on 101 or report to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111

A young person being exploited may stop at takeaways during their journey. Are the same adults stopping by with different young people and buying them food/drink? Report concerns to the police on 101 or Crimestoppers 0800 555 111. 

Here is a YouTube video explaining some of the signs to look out for when on public transport - How To Tell If Some Needs Help

When you see groups of young people do you see anyone looking withdrawn, intimidated or hurt? Did you know young people can be controlled by others of a similar age? Report concerns to the police 101 or Crimestoppers 0800 555 111

Did you know that 2,300 runaway or missing children were found on the rail network in 2018/19? Children who are missing are more vulnerable to being exploited, if you think you spot a missing child call Essex Police on 101 or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111

The  Look Closer Campaign is a joint initiative with The Children’s Society and British Transport Police encouraging members of the public to learn the signs of child exploitation and understand how to report it if worried. The campaign focuses nationally on public spaces like bus and train stations, fast food outlets, roadside services, and hotels - places where young victims of exploitation could be visible.

Aimed at young people

Has your friend started hanging out with older people, wearing expensive clothes or carrying lots of money? Are they secretive and spending a lot of time online? If you’re worried about #exploitation call the Police on 101 or Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.

Here is YouTube video to help explain better the sign to look for in your friends, if their behaviour appears to change - Signs To Look For In Your Friends 

Do you feel like you need some space, but you don’t know who to talk to? Have you run away but you want to be somewhere safer? Are you worried what will happen when you are found? The Runaway Helpline is available everyday from 9am to 11pm for children to talk to someone if they are thinking of running away or have run away. They never judge you and will always listen. Call or text for free on 116 000 or visit their website Runaway Helpline Homepage.

Are you on a train or at a train station and worried what will happen next? Have you been asked to meet someone you’re worried might hurt you? If you need help at any time on your train journey text the British Transport Police on 61016 and tell them how they can help you. You can stay anonymous if you want and they are there to respond 24/7.