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".'

Tackling mistrust about vaccines image

Tackling mistrust about vaccines

Dr Justin Varney looks at how Birmingham is working to tackle the ‘layers upon layers of mistrust’ among ethnic minority communities that is ‘now playing out in vaccine hesitancy’.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Senior Occupational Therapist

Essex County Council
£40637 - £49183 per annum
Job summaryWith us, you can achieve more - for yourself as well as those you work to support.We'll give you the tools and resources you need to enabl England, Essex, Harlow
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Covid Community Support Worker

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£10.01 - £10.21 per hour
Do you want to help stop the spread of Covid-19 in Kirklees?  Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Senior Legal Officer A/B Contracts and Commercial

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£34,728 - £42,821
We are looking for a motivated lawyer to work on a range of contract, procurement and commercial matters. Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Senior Communications Manager

Barnet London Borough Council
£47,841 - £52,886 Per Annum
We’re looking for someone with strong experience of leading on innovative communications to promote... Barnet (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Barnet London Borough Council

Youth Justice Liaison & Diversion Worker

Barnet London Borough Council
£34,884 - £38,883 Per Annum
An exciting career opportunity has arisen for a full time enthusiastic and energetic Youth Justice Liaison & Diversion Worker from... Barnet (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Barnet London Borough 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