The national charity Crimestoppers has launched a new campaign across Wales to help young people stay safe from drugs and exploitation.
Promoted through the charity’s Fearless youth service, the digital campaign is raising awareness of the harm that drug dealers can cause, in particular how they exploit vulnerable children and young people.
Crimestoppers is concerned about the lack of reporting by young people, especially those at risk of exploitation. Through anonymised case studies, the campaign aims to help young people spot the signs and speak up about crime and exploitation.
Ella Rabaiotti, Wales Manager at the charity Crimestoppers, said:“The stories we’re sharing this summer through our Fearless.org campaign show howcriminals easily target and exploit vulnerable young people to move and deal drugs. It’s been a challenging year for young people and we want them to know we’re here for them if they have information about crime.
“Our message for young people is that if you are a worried about your involvement, or a friend's involvement in drug crime including County Lines, a good option is to speak to an adult you trust and talk to them about your concerns. But for those who want to give information on County Lines and drugs anonymously, you can visit the Fearless Website to use our online form. Our charity is making a difference every day to help people stay safe, but we can’t do this without your support.”
Crimestoppers’ Fearless.org service was developed to inform and empower young people about crime issues that may affect them. For example, ‘Amy’s story’ shares how a teenage girl, who was isolated and struggling at school, was groomed and trapped into drug dealing.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, said: "The harm that drug gangs do to our communities is complex. These crimes are often hidden and target some of the most vulnerable people in society.
"It is part of the bigger picture of serious and organized crime that affects more UK citizens than any other national security threat.
“My office has funded the Fearless team to work across Gwent since January 2019 and in this time they have delivered sessions on knife crime, child exploitation and drug running to almost 14,000 young people. This work is giving young people the education and understanding to recognise these issues within their friendship groups and communities, but also to give them the knowledge and confidence to report them.
“I fully support this latest campaign and hope that it encourages more young people to speak out about these issues.”
To view the stories, find out more about Fearless.org and give information about crime and exploitation anonymously, visit the campaign page here.