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A new campaign is launched to tackle exploitation in Cornwall

Every month across the UK over six hundred young people are safeguarded from exploitation, according to figures from the National Crime Agency.  Children and young adults in Cornwall are not immune to this and we need to increase public awareness of the signs and indicators.

Today sees the launch of CETHESIGNS, a new campaign from Our Safeguarding Children Partnership and Safeguarding Adults Board, aimed at raising awareness of the dangers of child sexual exploitation and child criminal exploitation across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

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Chair of Our Safeguarding Children Partnership, John Clements, said: “The exploitation of children and young adults is often a hidden crime and takes many different forms.  Regardless of what form it takes, the risks that children face at the hands of the perpetrators is very real and it must be stopped.

“Our aim is that this campaign will help friends, family or members of the general public to understand what the signs are and how they can help us to protect the children and young people of Cornwall.”

Tackling the exploitation of children and young adults across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is a shared priority of Cornwall Council, Our Safeguarding Children Partnership, Safer Cornwall, the Safeguarding Adults Board and other agencies.

One of the key points of this campaign is that exploited children and young people might not always ‘look’ vulnerable, or ‘act’ like victims, but there are some signs to look out for that can suggest things aren’t right.

Cabinet Member for Children, Public Health and Well Being at Cornwall Council, Sally Hawken added: “The important thing to remember is exploitation can take place anywhere and it can take many forms; sexual, criminal or modern slavery. It doesn’t matter if you work with children, drive a bus, work in a hotel or serve fast food, we want you to know the signs.

“We know that when we are aware of cases of exploitation, we are quick to act. However, we need members of the public to help us to identify those situations we are not aware of and that’s why knowing the signs can make an enormous difference.”

Children and young adults in Cornwall are not immune to exploitation and this campaign has been designed to increase public awareness of the signs and indicators. This body of work links into the new three-year Cornwall Exploitation Strategy from 2020-2023 for children and young adults aged up to 25.

John concluded: “We must work together to stop child exploitation. We do this by learning the signs and reporting anything that doesn’t seem right. It doesn’t matter if you’re not completely certain. Anything that you tell us could be vital in helping to keep children and young adults safe from exploitation.”

You can find more information on the campaign by visiting the Our Safeguarding Partnership website. Here, you will also find a host of campaign resources.