South Yorkshire Police list warning signs to look out for if your child is being exploited

South Yorkshire Police has listed the warning signs to look out which could suggest a child is being exploited or at risk.

Thursday, 18th March 2021, 11:32 am

To mark National Child Exploitation Awareness Day, South Yorkshire Police has drawn up a list of what to look out for if children are being sexually or criminally exploited.

Temporary Detective Chief Inspector Rob Platts said: “Children are vulnerable and can be exploited for a number of different reasons. They can be coerced to carry out the work of organised crime gangs, by being recruited to transport drugs for example, or they can be exploited and trafficked for sexual reasons.

“Criminals will seek to exploit children and very often, victims don’t realise they’re being targeted.

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Police tape is pictured (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

“Perpetrators can groom children by promising to fulfill a ‘want’ or ‘need’. They may target someone who may not have a lot of money, or many friends, so the child welcomes the additional ‘friendship’ or extra money that this brings.

“They can be given gifts, such as new mobile phones or expensive clothes and made to feel more popular amongst their peers. Importantly however, irrespective of their background, any child can be at risk of exploitation.”He said early behavioural signs to look for include children becoming isolated or withdrawn from social networks and not mixing with their usual friends, coming home late or going missing from home and being excluded or regularly missing school.

Children may become involved in crime or repeat offending and may be defensive and aggressive when asked where they have been and what they have been doing.They may also appear secretive or withdrawn and could be in possession of unexplained money or gifts such as designer clothes or a new mobile phone.DCI Platts added: “Tackling exploitation cannot be done by just police alone, we need to work closely with partners so to ensure everything possible is being done to safeguard children, identify perpetrators and bring offenders to justice. Overall we need to stop the exploitation of children taking place.”

Anyone worried about s a child should speak to the police, a trusted adult, or a parent or carer.

South Yorkshire Police has listed warning signs to look out for which could suggest that children are being or at risk of being exploited