Monday 29 January 2018 marks the start of 2 weeks of action in Epping, Braintree and Basildon to raise awareness of the vulnerability of young people to exploitation and abuse within stations and transport networks in Essex.
The joint initiative is being run by Essex Safeguarding Children Board, British Transport Police, Essex Police, Transport For London (TFL), Rail Operators and Braintree, Basildon and Epping District Councils and the Children’s Society.
Why transport networks?
Multi-agency data reports that public transport networks across Essex are often used by young people who may be vulnerable to child sexual exploitation (CSE) and other types of abuse.
Young people often gravitate towards train stations because they are busy, anonymous places that also provide some form of shelter and access to food and drink. A young person may use a station or public transport as a way to try to ‘disappear’ during a missing episode. In addition, bus and rail networks can also be used by perpetrators to traffic young people for the purpose of sexual and criminal exploitation.
Identify and recognise concerns
All staff working within and around a station, from ticket collectors to engineers, and coffee shop workers to cleaners, play an important role in safeguarding vulnerable young people. This campaign includes an important element of work in which transport network staff will be educated to ensure they are able to identify and recognise potential concerns and know how and where to report such concerns.
Outreach workers will be targeting stations over this 2 week campaign period, through visible attendance and via phone consultancy to station staff to provide support and signposting. At stations there will be stalls to raise awareness to the public around child exploitation, trafficking and missing episodes. Outreach workers will also be engaging with all station staff from food, drink and retail businesses to network rail staff, ticketing staff and cleaners to ensure they have access to resources around spotting vulnerable young people and what to do if they have concerns.
Please share the message
Epping Forest District Council’s Safer, Greener & Transport Portfolio Holder, Councillor Sam Kane said: ”Throughout the 2 week campaign there will be key messages posted on social media using the hashtag #KnowAboutCSE and videos on what to look out for and how to report concerns. Child exploitation is an unspeakable crime. Please help us share these messages to make sure that this campaign is successful.”
Anyone can support the campaign by following and sharing on social media.
Information passed to Essex Police and British Transport Police will be looked into and further action taken where necessary. The two forces will also be working together to identify and locate any vulnerable children who are reported missing and might be using the transport networks.
- The Police: If you have any intelligence or wish to report concerns please call 101. If you think a child or young person is in immediate danger always call 999
- British Transport Police can be contacted by phone on 0800 40 50 40 or members of the public can report a crime or an incident that occurred on your train via text 61016
- Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or www.crimestoppers-uk.org