Police, local authorities, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, young people and an MP have launched a campaign to stop criminal gangs from grooming children and vulnerable adults to commit crime.
The campaign, known as ‘Trapped’, aims to raise awareness of criminals who are grooming and exploiting children and young adults to commit crime on their behalf.
Offenders take victims from urban areas to the countryside or coastal areas to sell drugs. Sometimes victims are trafficked closer to home, and are moved around Greater Manchester.
As well as drug dealing, victims are sometimes asked to carry out other forms of criminal activity such as arson, violent offences, storing firearms, holding money, criminal damage or assault.
Offenders use coercive behaviour to threaten and exploit victims and their families.
Some signs that a young or vulnerable person could be ‘Trapped’ and need help are:
• Young people going missing and travelling to seaside or market towns
• School absence or missing 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
Anyone with concerns either about themselves or somebody else should contact Greater Manchester Police on 101 in a non-emergency situation or report anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Always dial 999 when there is an immediate threat to life or a crime in progress.
For more information and resources, visit: www.manchestersafeguardingboards.co.uk/trapped-campaign/