WiSE Up to criminal exploitation of young people in Brighton & Hove

Have you thought about how drugs arrive in and move around our city? 

Are you aware that children are used by organised crime groups to transport, store and distribute drugs and the profits of drugs in Brighton & Hove and across the country? 

The activity is known as ‘Child Criminal Exploitation’ and has increased significantly over the last two years. 

Brighton & Hove is the top target of county lines dealers according to a new report from London City Hall, with vulnerable children as young as 10 targeted.  

WiSE Up campaign

We’re supporting a new WiSE Up To Exploitation campaign launched by YMCA DownsLink Group via its project leading on child sexual exploitation and criminal exploitation, YMCA WiSE, to raise awareness of the issue.

WiSE Up to Exploitation has been devised by YMCA WiSE alongside a group of Brighton University student volunteers. 

It aims to raise awareness among fellow students and the wider community of child criminal exploitation and its links to the sale and distribution of drugs in Brighton & Hove. 

The campaign hopes to start conversations about recreational drug use in the city and the impact on children and young people who are exploited through this process. 

Child criminal exploitation

Speaking about why she wanted to be involved, volunteer Genevieve Orsi said: 

“I think many of my peers have no idea that children in Brighton & Hove are being abused as part of the drug trade in this way and I want to make sure as many people as possible know that this is happening.”

Project worker Magdalene Mill from YMCA WiSE explains more about child criminal exploitation:

“Child criminal exploitation is a type of abuse where children are targeted, often through social media platforms such as snap chat and Instagram, they are then groomed and coerced into committing criminal acts. 

“On the surface it may appear that children who are criminally exploited have made a freely given choice. However, among other tactics, intimidation, violence, sexual violence, debt bondage and weapons have been used to manipulate them to commit crimes.”

Spot the signs

To find out more about what you can do and how to spot the signs if someone you know may be being exploited, visit the WiSE Up To Exploitation pages on the YMCA DownsLink website and follow @ymcawise on social media.  

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