Devon and Cornwall Police and the Children’s Society are urging local businesses to play their part and take responsibility for helping to identify potential child sexual exploitation (CSE).
Business owners and managers are invited to an event to learn how they can help. It will be held in the Council Chamber at New County Hall in Truro on Tuesday, November 7 between 2.30 and 4.30pm.
Nationally the focus of the campaign has been on hotel and taxi businesses but police in Cornwall believe that others can help too.
PC Steph Trebilcock who is based at Newquay Police Station, said: “Because of the rural and coastal nature of our area vulnerable youngsters tend to use buses or trains or get picked up by older teenagers in their vehicles which may well stop off at petrol stations. All these businesses need to be aware of child exploitation, what it is, how to recognise it and what to do if they have concerns.”
Child sexual exploitation involves young people under the age of 18 who are encouraged/forced into a sexual relationship or a situation by an adult. They may be offered something in return for performing sexual acts such as alcohol, cigarettes, mobile phones, gifts, money or love.
The victims can be groomed or sexually exploited anywhere including parks, shopping centres, on public transport, food outlets, hotels, hostels, pubs and clubs.
The event at Truro is designed to inform business managers of the CSE risks that exist and offers an opportunity for them to sign up for some training which they can cascade through their employees.
Cornwall commander, Chief Superintendent Jim Pearce said: “Safeguarding and protecting the vulnerable is everyone’s responsibility becoming part of this campaign equips businesses and their staff to play a part in this.”