Jon Masters 23 July 2015

Gangs using homeless children to expand drug lines warns report

Gangs using homeless children to expand drug lines warns report image

Children that have runaway or been declared missing are being used by gangs to expand inner city drug rings into county towns, according to a report by the Missing People charity and the Catch22 Dawes Unit.

Investigations drawing on research and interviews with young people have found that gangs are giving homeless children accommodation in provincial areas and then forcing them to sell drugs from houses for weeks at a time.

The new report details how young people who go missing are vulnerable to gang coercion and sexual exploitation, for reasons including debt and involvement in ‘drug lines’.

The report also provides practitioners and policy makers with advice on how to work more effectively to address the problem.

Catch22’s strategic director Frances Flaxington, said: ‘Similarly to those experiencing child sexual exploitation, the young people identified in this report are likely to be widely under-reported when missing and when they are reported, they often receive a criminal, rather than a safeguarding response.

'These are exceptionally vulnerable children and young people. They need specialist support services including strong and long-lasting relationships that help them open up and improve their lives.'

Ann Coffey MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Missing Children, said: 'Young people being groomed to sell drugs and being isolated from help is another example of how some of our most vulnerable children and young people fall into terrible danger when they go missing from home or care.

'These children must be seen as victims, not criminals. They are children being exploited by gangs to do their dirty work. It is minimal cost for maximum gain for the gangs. We must not fall into the same trap as we did in Rochdale, Rotherham and Oxford where the victims of sexual exploitation were wrongly seen as making a "lifestyle choice".'

A perfect storm for care homes image

A perfect storm for care homes

Iain MacBeath, strategic director, health and wellbeing at Bradford City Council, looks at the challenges facing the adult social care sector.
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Social Worker - SGO & Connected Person Assessment Team

Essex County Council
Social Worker - Special Guardianship Order (SGO) & Connected Person Assessment Team Chelmsford £30,906 - £42,254 Salary scale according to skills a England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Refuse Driver (LGV Chargehand Driver)

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£22995 - £24258 per annum + plus contractual overtime and allowances
It is an exciting time in Waste and Street Services at the Royal Borough of Greenwich. This is a opportunity to be part of a busy, successful team mak England, London, Greenwich
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Management Information Assistant

Brent Council
£24,462 - £26,724 p.a. inc (pro rata)
The successful candidate will have knowledge of relevant systems and software used in Finance and Human Resources. Wembley, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

Principal Traffic Signal and ITS Engineer

Warwickshire County Council
£40,876.00 - £42,821.00 plus annual standby allowance of £2,562.84
You will be responsible for the day-to-day operation and maintenance of our Urban Traffic Management and Control System. Warwickshire
Recuriter: Warwickshire County Council

Finance Business Partner (GR7)

Birmingham City Council
£57,698 - £74,887
A role of this scale calls for an experienced Finance Business Partner with tried and tested skills. Birmingham, West Midlands
Recuriter: Birmingham City Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue