Child exploitation

Child Exploitation Awareness Day 2024 in Warwickshire: Could you spot the signs?

Warwickshire agencies are joining the national fight against child exploitation by raising awareness throughout the week that follows Child Exploitation Awareness Day on Monday 18 March.

Hanging out with older people, skipping school, and being secretive are just some of the signs of child exploitation - and we all have a responsibility to spot them as hundreds of children and young people are exploited every year.

Child exploitation can manifest itself in different ways, including child abuse, sexual exploitation, county lines drug dealing, coerced criminal activity, human trafficking and online grooming.

It is a crime that can affect any child, anywhere, anytime and regardless of their social or ethnic background or gender.

Child Exploitation Awareness Day encourages everyone to think about it so they can understand, spot and speak out against exploitation and adopt a zero tolerance to adults developing inappropriate relationships with children.

This year, agencies in Warwickshire will be working in partnership, highlighting a different theme each day to draw attention to the various forms of, and potential settings for, child exploitation:

Monday 18 March – Transport’s role in Child Criminal Exploitation e.g. county lines, and Child Sexual Exploitation e.g. trafficking. Barnardo’s will be at Stratford Train Station (AM) and Rugby Train Station (PM) to raise awareness with rail staff and passengers. They will also be writing pledges on their hands to stop child exploitation as part of the national #HelpingHands campaign.

Tuesday 19 March - #HelpingHands child exploitation awareness pledges. Agencies across Warwickshire will be encouraging people to pledge to learn how to recognise the signs of exploitation and report it if they see that something’s not right.

Barnardo’s will the running Child Exploitation Awareness training for NHS staff at George Elliot Hospital in Nuneaton and holding a stall there and at Warwickshire College in Moreton Morell. Drama education company Loudmouth will be raising awareness with their ‘Helping Hands’ production for primary school children and staff at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Whitnash.

Wednesday 20 March Education’s role in Child Exploitation, exploring the issues of peer-on-peer children’s exploitation, school disclosures, children not in school and mental health. Highlighting the links between children being out of education/not attending and their heightened exposure to exploitation, along with exploitation/grooming in schools.

Loudmouth will continue running their ‘Helping Hands’ production for primary schools and their ‘Calling it Out’ production for secondary schools and specialist academies. The drama company have also been commissioned by WCC, Barnardo’s and the Warwickshire Safeguarding Partnership Board to deliver their ‘Working for Marcus’ production for staff working in hospitality. Barnardo’s will be running their ‘Recognising and raising awareness of Child Sexual Exploitation’ for professionals in the county (AM) and Child Trafficking training for foster carers in Warwickshire (PM).    

Thursday 21 March – Knife Crime and Child Exploitation, with Warwickshire Police and the Safer Neighbourhood Teams raising awareness of the links, along with WCC Targeted Youth Support and community youth groups, who will be running Child Exploitation awareness activities with young people throughout the week. The NWG Network, a national charitable organisation, will be running online training sessions ‘Mind Your Language – Exploitation and Victim Blaming Training’ and ‘CSE Myth Busting’ – book online

Friday 22 March – Online Child Exploitation. Warwickshire Police, Cyber Safe Warwickshire and WCC will be highlighting the dangers of online child exploitation and social media e.g. the sharing of indecent images. Barnardo’s will be running their ‘Digital Dangers’ online safety training for professionals in Warwickshire. 

Saturday 23 March – Sports and Clubs and Child Exploitation. Focusing on the connections, by engaging with grassroots and local clubs and events. Highlighting Warwickshire Integrated Care Board’s ‘Positive Directions’, an innovative approach to tackling the physical, mental, and social challenges faced by children and young people who have experienced significant trauma, and the social prescribing of sports and clubs for their positive benefit.

A schedule of free multi-agency online training sessions will be available throughout the week following Child Exploitation Awareness Day. These sessions are for all professionals who work with children, young people and adults (where children are within the home) across Warwickshire.  For information on what the training sessions offer and to book your place on one or more of these sessions, 

Support for Child Exploitation Awareness Day amplifies the Warwickshire’s Something’s Not Right campaign, a partnership initiative between Warwickshire County Council, Warwickshire Police, Barnardo’s and the Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner.

Since its launch, the campaign has raised awareness amongst Warwickshire residents of all forms of child exploitation to encourage everyone, not just parents, carers and professionals working with children, to tackle the issues of the exploitation of our children.

The more residents report that something’s not right, the more police and partners can do to investigate and stop it from happening.

There are some key signs to look out for in a child or young person including, receiving expensive gifts and money, hanging out with older people, using drugs and drinking alcohol, mood swings, self-harming, going missing, staying out late, being secretive and skipping school to name just a few.

Everyone has a responsibility to protect children and young people, and there are things people can do to help tackle exploitation:

  • Learn what the signs of child exploitation are so it is easier to recognise
  • Know where to go to report anything that’s not right
  • Build trusting relationships with young people
  • Support the Helping Hands campaign and write a message of support for victims of exploitation and share it on social media using the hashtags #CEADay24 #HelpingHands #WarwickshireCE
  • Share social media messages from WCC and partners across social media to spread awareness

Warwickshire County Councillor Sue Markham, Portfolio Holder for Children and Families, said:

“I encourage everyone in our communities in Warwickshire to find out more about the signs of child exploitation, to support this year’s Child Exploitation Awareness Day and the events that will be happening throughout that week. It is a further step in the right direction of increasing awareness and stopping the exploitation of children and young people in all its forms, be it sexual or criminal activity. 

“The Something’s Not Right campaign was launched to remind everyone in Warwickshire that we all have a responsibility to protect children and young people by spotting the signs of child exploitation and reporting it, so they can live safe and healthy lives.”

To learn more about child exploitation and the support available, visit

If you would like to raise awareness of child exploitation in Warwickshire on social media, use #WarwickshireCE and #CEADay24.

Where to go for help and support

  • For information on how to spot the signs of child exploitation
  • For information and advice go to 
  • If you are worried about a child or young person, contact the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub between 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, on 01926 414144
  • You can also make a report to Warwickshire Police via their website or by calling 101, or you can contact your local Children and Family Centre.
  • Contact Crimestoppers confidentially and anonymously on 0800 555 111.
  • Talk to trained counsellors on the 24-hour helplines run by ChildLine on 0800 11 11 and the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000
  • If someone is in immediate danger, call the police on 999

Published: Tuesday, 12th March 2024