South Yorkshire project recognised for efforts to stop child sexual exploitation

South Yorkshire Police project gets global recognition
South Yorkshire Police project gets global recognition

A South Yorkshire Police project aimed at training people up to spot the signs of child sexual exploitation has won global recognition.

Operation Makesafe is a child protection training package which has been delivered to a number of businesses, including hotels and bus companies, where staff are taught about the warning signs of child sexual exploitation, how to spot potential perpetrators and how to report suspicions to the police.

The project is highlighted in a global study on the sexual exploitation of children in the travel and tourism industry.

The study, commissioned by leading children’s rights organisation ECPAT, refers to South Yorkshire Police’s work with Sheffield Hallam University students as part of the project.

The police force worked with students from international tourism, hospitality and events management courses to translate training materials into a number of languages to allow the training to be offered to more people.

Sergeant Katherine Wallis said: "This paper is a fascinating insight into how other countries across the world are tackling this horrific crime and I’d urge anyone working with children or interested in the field to read the report.

“I am indebted to the support of the university and to the hard work of the students, who have helped us make the Operation Makesafe package more accessible to a wider range of communities because of their contributions.”

Ray Nolan, Senior Lecturer in Sheffield Hallam University Business School, said: “Students can not only benefit but can contribute to the fight against child sexual exploitation in the travel and tourism industries.

“Our students already work with South Yorkshire Police, the National Working Group and Sheffield Child Safeguarding to develop the training material in addition to our students who have completed the training and taken the knowledge into their workplace and discussed it with their managers and colleagues.

“This project has helped to raise awareness and has generated a more informed intelligence picture which is contributing to the fight against child sexual exploitation and particularly for our international students who quite often have not encountered such topics before, have been keen to take this knowledge forward within their professions all over the world.”