What is County Lines?
County Lines is a form of Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) where gangs and organised crime networks will exploit children and use them to transport drugs. perpetrators will use dedicated mobile phone 'Lines' to manage their criminal activity, taking place between different towns and cities.
Criminal exploitation has become increasingly common in recent years, with children as young as nine forced to run drugs.
Explains Clair Graham, Head of the EMPOWER U Hub: "Here at Birmingham Children's Trust we have a dedicated safeguarding hub, called EMPOWER U, where we work very closely in partnership with West Midlands Police, NHS colleagues, Birmingham City Council and national, regional and local charities to support vulnerable children and their families where children are at risk of, or currently being exploited by criminal gangs.
"To help raise greater awareness of County Lines, known to a number of young people as 'going cunch', we have worked directly with young people to understand the important questions they have about this form of criminal exploitation. We have listened, and turned this information into a leaflet for young people and parents/carers equipping them with hard realities of what County Lines is, the language used around it, its impact, and who to talk to if they have questions or concerns."
DOWNLOAD THE 'THINK BEFORE GOING CUNCH' LEAFLET (PDF document)
New video aimed at parents and carers
We have also created a short video, supporting and reaching out to parents, about understanding their anxieties around County Lines. The short video features Darren Laville from Epiphany People, and Clair Graham from Birmingham Children's Trust. You can watch below or copy and paste this link: https://vimeo.com/552361935. Please feel free to share.
Birmingham Children's Trust staff work alongside the West Midlands Violence Reduction Unit, statutory and voluntary partners, including The Children's Society on a daily basis to assess cases of potential child criminal exploitation, and colleagues are active in local communities throughout Birmingham to raise awareness of criminal activities such as County Lines.
As part of general awareness raising we are supporting The Children's Society, who are heading a campaign called #LookCloser, encouraging everyone to look closer and spot the signs of child exploitation in visible in public spaces like on public transport, in fast food outlets and shopping centres and taxis and rideshares. For more information click on the link below.
VISIT THE CHILDREN'S SOCIETY WEBSITE