Campaign launches to raise awareness of the exploitation of vulnerable children on public transport.
On Tuesday 26 April campaign, known as Operation Henderson, is running to raise awareness of child exploitation at stations and transport networks in Essex.
The initiative is being run in partnership by Essex Safeguarding Children Board, Southend and Thurrock Safeguarding Children Partnerships alongside organisations including:
- British Transport Police
- Essex Police
- The Violence and Vulnerability Unit
- Greater Anglia
- The Railway Children
- The Children’s Society
- Social care
- Local councils
Passenger and business outreach
Local outreach workers and community police will be engaging with passengers, businesses and young people at train and bus stations along identified key routes in Essex, to raise awareness about signs of exploitation and where to report concerns.
As well as members of the public, all staff working within and around a station, from ticket collectors to engineers, coffee shop workers to cleaners, play an important role in safeguarding vulnerable young people.
Research and local data have shown transport networks are used by vulnerable young people who may be at risk of sexual exploitation, criminal exploitation, and trafficking.
Young people often gravitate towards stations because they are anonymous places that provide some form of shelter and access to food and drink. A young person may use a station or form of public transport to ‘disappear’. Bus and rail networks can also be used by abusers to traffic young people for the purpose of sexual and criminal exploitation.
To report concerns about child exploitation contact:
- Police on 101 (or 999 in an emergency)
- Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111
If there are concerns about suspicious activity at a train station, contact British Transport Police:
- Call 0800 40 50 40
- Text 61016
Resources for your business
Resources are available to download for local businesses, including leaflets for taxi drivers, bus operators and businesses.
- Operation Henderson driver leaflet Epping (pdf 5MB)
- Operation Henderson taxi leaflet Epping (pdf 8MB)
- Operation Henderson business poster Epping (boy) (pdf 6MB)
- Operation Henderson business poster Epping (girl) (pdf 4MB)
For more information visit the Operation Henderson webpage on the Essex Safeguarding Children Board website.
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