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Redbridge businesses given information on how to recognise child sexual exploitation

PUBLISHED: 12:47 21 March 2017 | UPDATED: 16:29 21 March 2017

A report released by Barnardos in March showed child sexual exploitation (CSE) affects children regardless of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, faith, disability, background or upbringing. Photo: Dan Hodges/Barnardos

A report released by Barnardos in March showed child sexual exploitation (CSE) affects children regardless of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, faith, disability, background or upbringing. Photo: Dan Hodges/Barnardos

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Taxi drivers and hotel staff were given advice last week on how to recognise signs and what to do.

Businesses across the borough were visited by Redbridge Council officers and police on Wednesday to mark National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day.

Staff at hotels, mini cab offices and shisha bars were all given given advice on what behaviour might higlight that a child is being groomed.

It is believed that these types of businesses are key for tackling CSE as as staff are more likely to come into contact with children at risk of sexual exploitation.

Andy Kavanagh, chairman of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA) suburban section, said he would welcome training.

He said: “It’s not a new idea, in the past we were given cards from Transport for London to hand out to women who may be suffering domestic violence.

“Obviously, if we were given proper training, then I think it would be a good idea.

“Safeguarding is such a big problem now.”

On Friday, Redbridge Local Safeguarding Children’s Board organised activities in Ilford, to offer information and advice to members of the public.

This included a stand in the Exchange shopping centre and a bus in High Road, Ilford, in the afternoon.

Councillor Elaine Norman, cabinet member for children’s services, said, “Child sexual exploitation is incredibly complex as in many cases, the person often doesn’t even realise they’re a victim.

“The long lasting effects on the person’s life however, can be devastating.

“It’s up to all of us to help protect these vulnerable young people.

“You can do this by making sure you’re aware of the signs, and acting when you think something isn’t right, so that action can be taken as early as possible.”

CSE can happen to any child, and they can be exploited in many different forms.

This can include online, in religious environments and by those in a position of authority.

Signs can include a young person misusing drugs or alcohol, changing physically or being absent from school or home.

If you have concerns or suspect that a child is being sexually exploited, phone Redbridge Council on 020 8708 3885 (9am to 5pm) or 020 8708 5897 (after 5pm). Alternatively, email CPAT.referrals@redbridge.gov.uk

For more information, click here.

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