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Its Not Okay- Exploitation Week of Action 7th October

Campaign background

No matter the image a young person portrays to the world they are still a child – that’s the message to Greater Manchester communities as part of a week of action to raise awareness of child exploitation.  

The message of the campaign is simple– any person under the age of 18 years of age is still a child and they are vulnerable to exploitation.

Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester, Bev Hughes, said: “No matter the image a young person portrays to the outside world they are still a child – that’s the important message behind this week of action to raise awareness of exploitation. 

“There are, sadly, numerous ways in which a child might be exploited. It might include criminal exploitation or even sexual exploitation.

“Child exploitation is a despicable crime and tackling it in our city-region is an absolute priority. Police, local authorities and our other criminal justice partners are doing more to tackle this problem now than ever before, but we require the support and cooperation of the public to make this illegal behaviour a thing of the past.

“Children deserve a childhood. If you are worried about a young person or think you have spotted any of the warning signs, please immediately report your concerns to the police.”

Warning signs include:

  • Young people going missing or travelling to areas where they have no obvious links or connections
  • Unexpected, repeated or prolonged absence 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 or older individuals or groups
  • Carrying weapons
  • A significant decline in school results or performance
  • Self-harm or significant changes in emotional wellbeing – appearing withdrawn, anxious or depressed

Greater Manchester Police

Assistant Chief Constable at Greater Manchester Police (GMP), Mabs Hussain, added: “Tackling the exploitation of children is an absolute priority for the police. We are doing more to tackle this problem now than at any point in the past and we encourage everyone to understand just how easily children can become exposed to and caught up in exploitation.

“Abusing a child for a sexual or criminal purpose is absolutely reprehensible and we will seek to actively target and apprehend those responsible. 

“It does not matter how a child may look, how they behave, who they hang around wit, or what clothes they wear. If you have any concerns about a child or you think that you may have seen any of the warning signs that indicate criminal or sexual exploitation may be taking place please report your concerns directly to the police. We have specialist dedicated teams in every borough across Greater Manchester investigating this form of child abuse.

“If you suspect someone is involved in this or you are suffering yourself, please contact police on 999.”

Tackling the exploitation of children and vulnerable people is a priority for GMP and partners, which combines the work of police, local authorities, criminal justice agencies and the voluntary sector  who work together to tackle and raise awareness of criminal exploitation and how to report it.

This partnership approach has led to the introduction of a specialist multi-agency Complex Safeguarding Team sited in every borough of Greater Manchester. These teams have been building on the work of Programme Challenger and It’s Not Okay to focus on all aspects of exploitation, in addition to supporting victims and disrupting and apprehending those responsible.

Who to contact

Its not okay website

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This page was last updated on: 09/10/2019


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