The VVU supported the Essex Safeguarding Children Board campaign Operation Henderson to raise awareness of child exploitation at stations and transport networks in Essex.
The VVU supported the Essex Safeguarding Children Board campaign Operation Henderson to raise awareness of child exploitation at stations and transport networks in Essex
The two-week online campaign, during November, shared information about how to safeguard vulnerable children on public transport, what signs to look out for and how to report concerns.
While many people were staying at home during the second lockdown, we know children were still using public transport to get to and from school. Traditionally, the anonymity of a crowded station has made it harder to identify victims, while in lockdown the lack of passengers can make it easier for young people and their exploiters to move around unchecked.
Research has also shown that young people vulnerable to exploitation are just as likely to be using trains, buses and taxis as they were prior to Covid-19. A young person travelling on their own during a lockdown could, in fact, be an indicator of potential abuse or criminal exploitation. They may be unable to stop for fear of punishment from their exploiters.
Concerns about child exploitation can be reported to the Police on 101 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. If there are concerns about suspicious activity in train station grounds, the British Transport Police text line number 61016 can also be used.
Further information and resources can be found on the ESCB website.