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Motorists asked to #LookCloser to protect children from exploitation
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Police and The Children’s Society are targeting service stations to raise awareness around child exploitation.
Officers in the East Midlands will be distributing posters and leaflets at fuel and service stations along key routes in the region in order to highlight the signs of children and young people being used in criminality.
The message to those who work at and frequent these roadside services is to #LookCloser at young people who stop for food or use the services.
Sergeant Ted Panniers, from Derbyshire Constabulary, said: “We are seeing more and more criminals using taxis and privately-owned vehicles to move exploited youngsters across counties for sex or to sell drugs and collect cash.
“The use of private hire or their own vehicles offers a degree of concealment, so we are appealing to other motorists and those who work at roadside service stations to be vigilant for signs of exploitation when they are at their most visible.
“We are asking them to #LookCloser at those young people stopping for food or to access other services at the sites. Are they travelling during school hours or late into the night? Are they with an older individual or group, who are perhaps dressed similarly and who are paying for their food? Or, similarly, in the rear of a vehicle in a drive-thru?
“Is there something not quite right about the way they are behaving — do they appear confused or afraid, or could they be under the influence of drugs or alcohol?
“If you have concerns about a young person at these sites, call us there and then so we can help.”
If you think a child is being exploited, don’t wait, report it to security or call police on 101. Always dial 999 in an emergency.