Crimestoppers launches film highlighting girls’ vulnerability to exploitation

The charity Crimestoppers has launched an educational film which warns how girls are increasingly vulnerable to exploitation by criminal gangs.

‘Sophie’s Story’ focusses on the character Sophie, who is groomed, sexually exploited, and threatened by a member of an organised crime gang.

The film launch is part of a four-week national County Lines campaign, highlighting how organised criminal gangs target young people to find out their vulnerabilities.



Jeff Cuthbert, Gwent Police Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “County Lines is a growing problem in our communities. It is complex, often hidden, and targets some of the most vulnerable people in society. It is part of the bigger picture of serious and organised crime that affects more UK citizens than any other national security threat.

“Young girls can be particularly vulnerable to exploitation. Perpetrators can draw them in by promising what appears to be a glamorous, exciting lifestyle. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Once someone becomes involved in a criminal gang it is very hard for them to get out and they can become stuck in a cycle of physical, psychological and sexual abuse.

“This film highlights the harsh realities of life working for a criminal gang and will hopefully deter young people from becoming involved in this type of crime.”

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent has commissioned Crimestoppers to work with young people in Gwent to deliver key messages and advice about the dangers of county lines.

Jeff Cuthbert said: “No single agency can resolve this problem on its own. To tackle these issues we need police, businesses, local authorities, the NHS, the third sector, schools and residents to work together. We need focused early intervention. We need community resilience.

“In Gwent we are at the forefront of some trailblazing work to tackle this issue and will continue to work with our partners to ensure that young people are free to live their lives free from violence and exploitation.

“We all have our parts to play and if you suspect someone is becoming involved in county lines, or is being exploited in anyway, please report it.”

Key signs a young person could be at risk

  • Always going missing from school/home.
  • Travelling alone to places far away from home.
  • Receiving gifts – lots of money or new mobile phones.
  • Receiving more messages than usual.
  • Carrying or selling drugs.
  • Carrying weapons or know people that have access to weapons.
  • In a relationship with or hanging out with people who are older/controlling.
  • Seem very reserved or seem like they have something to hide.
  • Unexplained injuries and seem scared or upset.

Anyone with any information about county lines related activities can report it to Gwent Police via 101 or 999 in an emergency.

Alternatively, Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111 or young people can pass on information anonymously at Fearless.org.