Criminal Exploitation of Children Through County Lines, A Growing Wave Of Crime.

A real parent's experience.

Character transformation was so sudden, evolved so quickly: the child was taken, as if triggered by a word, a snap, or a look.

Early events took place in and around school, away from the watchful eye of parents: techniques were used to lure and control a number of children age 14-15, all at the same school, around the same time, all successfully snatched - one way or another - from their loving supportive families.

We’re a stable, professional family, no poverty, no abuse, no deprivation, no violence; previously not broken, not troubled and no involvement with police or social care. All four children at Ofsted outstanding schools and no previous concerns: a happy, confident childhood filled with love, trust, family, friends, schoolwork, days out and good health.

The impact of coercion and control has been devastating: recent years filled with grieving, darkness, trauma, fear, exhaustion and chaos.

The social worker, who’d never met the child before, first said the child’s new behaviour is normal. Dismissed all concerns of those who know him. Instead, SW listened to the voice of the perpetrator: believed the child’s accusations against family and the new character now being played out.

Later, SW sent the child to an unregulated care home far away, which only made matters worse. Safeguarding actions were promised as part of a ‘protection plan’ but not one of them were put in place.

Repeatedly missing from home: police and social care never taking it seriously, despite the disgusting places he’s found and the criminal records of adults he’s found with. In streets and stations far from home, police listen to the voice of the perpetrator: the child had been instructed exactly what to say when arrested: his legal rights, right to silence, claims he’s acting alone and out of choice. Police stepped perfectly into the perpetrators masterplan, by believing the child’s words.

Exclusion from school is a punishment. All the children that were taken remain trapped, years later, coerced, threatened and living in fear.

Family and friends doing all in their power to prevent the child from becoming just another serious case review, another short piece in the news.

It’s not only the killed young people whose lives have been taken, and who once had potential for a great future. It’s true of the living ones too.