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Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE)

Published: Monday, 1st April 2019

As awareness grows about the nature of child exploitation it is important professionals across the Rotherham partnerships are aware of the many forms it can take.

Research has found that the patterns of grooming of children for criminal exploitation are very similar to those of sexual exploitation.

In the past, CSE was often perceived amongst professionals as the victim’s fault, or due to them ‘placing themselves at risk’.  Perceptions are changing but these young people are often still criminalised and perceived as having ‘made a choice’ to take part in illegal activity.  It is important these perceptions do not exist around criminal exploitation gangs.

Sexual exploitation is used in gangs to:

  • Exert power and control over members
  • Initiate young people into the gang
  • Exchange sexual activity for status or protection
  • Entrap rival gang members by exploiting girls and young women
  • Inflict sexualised assault as a weapon in conflict

Gangs also exploit children and young people in other ways – boys are particularly at risk of being recruited to be drugs ‘runners’ or to make cash deposits into bank accounts.  There is also growing awareness that debt entrapment is a key threat, with criminals deliberately robbing the young person who is transporting drugs and then holding them while they work to pay it off.

These numbers are not known as we don’t recognise criminal exploitation as vulnerability as easily as CSE but these children are at high risk of violence and intimidation.

The Home Office is working with partners to raise awareness of county lines, they have developed a range of materials to help statutory and non-statutory staff identify victims and report concerns to protect those exploited through this criminal activity.  A poster is available for circulation in your organisations, to help raise awareness of gangs and CSE

See Rotherham CCG : Improving safeguarding responses to gang violence and criminal exploitation