A partnership campaign will be launching on Monday 23 November to raise awareness of child exploitation at stations and transport networks in Essex. The two week online campaign, branded Operation Henderson, will be sharing information about how to safeguard vulnerable children on public transport, what signs to look out for and how to report concerns.
While many people are staying at home during the second lockdown, we know children are still using public transport to get to and from school. Traditionally the anonymity of a crowded station has made it harder to identify victims, in lockdown the lack of passengers can make it easier for young people and their exploiters to move around unchecked. So if you are out and about for work or caring purposes look out for signs of exploitation, particularly around transport hubs.
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. A young person travelling on their own during a lockdown is in fact an indicator of potential abuse. 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 the train station grounds the British Transport Police text line number can also be used 61016.
Further information and resources can be found on the ESCB website.