County Lines and Criminal Exploitation:
Modern Slavery can take many forms, one of these is criminal exploitation. This is when people are trafficked, exploited or coerced into committing crimes. Victims of criminal exploitation are indeed victims as they are very often forced or tricked into committing criminal acts. If you fear someone is being exploited to commit crimes you should still report the Modern Slavery Helpline, to ensure they are removed from the situation of exploitation.
A common example of criminal exploitation can be seen in “County Lines”. This is childhood criminal exploitation, and often takes the form of young people being coerced into criminal activity by gangs or fellow young people.
According to Stop the Traffik: “County Lines is a type of exploitation whereby gangs and organised networks force people to travel from urban areas to different locations to sell and deliver drugs. Whilst anyone can be at risk, victims are predominantly children and young adults.”
Read Ben’s story to see what child exploitation can look like in the UK.
Criminal exploitation is another form of Modern Slavery where victims are forced into working under the control of criminals and/or gangs. This can often take the form of begging, stealing, drug trafficking and many more. Victims of this kind if exploitation are often very vulnerable, and are often victims of homelessness prior to being coerced into working under the control of organised criminals against their will. It is important to remember that although these people are being forced into criminal activity, they are still victims of exploitation.
Learn more about Criminal Exploitation?