Wigan and Leigh public transport passengers are being urged to look around and stay alert to anyone who may be at risk of child sexual exploitation.
This week Wigan Council staff have been joining police, schools and other partners at events and awareness-raising sessions in train and bus stations, schools and taxi services to raise awareness of the dangers of CSE.
Everyone can play their part in protecting children from this abhorrent crimeCoun Jo Platt
The events have included healthy relationship workshops organised with partners including Wigan Youth Zone and Brook.
Young people that have been groomed online often use public transport to travel and meet offenders.
Signs of exploitation may include a child or young person accompanying an older person who does not appear to be a relative or carer, or a younger person who looks anxious, distressed or upset.
People with concerns are being urged to report them to police or alert transport staff.
The week of action is the latest from the It’s Not Okay campaign which aims to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation.
Coun Jo Platt, portfolio holder for young people, said: “It is so important to make people aware of the signs of child sexual exploitation. Everyone can play their part in protecting children from this abhorrent crime. So take time to look around you the next time you take public transport and report anything that might concern you.”
Det Supt Joanne Rawlinson from Greater Manchester Police said: “A child doesn’t choose to be exploited but passengers can make the choice to report it. If something looks out of place then please share concerns and contact the police or alert a member of transport staff.”
For more details on CSE visit www.itsnotokay.co.uk or join in the conversation online using the hashtag #itsnotokay. To report CSEdial 101 or 999 in an emergency where a child is in immediate danger.
Some of the signs to look for.
Are children ...
Being taken by taxi to different places and meeting people older than them;
Being taken to hotels by people older than them;
Out shopping with someone older and being bought clothes or gifts;
Being bought food, cigarettes and alcoholic drinks;
Being escorted into over-18 venues, despite being underage
Being taken out on trips, outings or holidays by someone older than them
Staying in a hotel room visited by different adults
Staying out late past 10pm
Wearing a school uniform or of school age but are not in school during the day
Drunk and in the company of someone older than them