Emily Aklan, Founder and CEO of Serenity Welfare, has discussed the exploitation of our country’s most vulnerable children by county lines gangs. With children as young as eight being strategically targeted and trapped, Emily speaks on the importance of early intervention with high value mentoring:
“Vulnerable children – children in care, children facing domestic abuse, neglected children – are prime target for these vicious gangs. Gangs will prey on the fact that these children – some as young as eight years old – are more likely to be spending large periods of time away from a school or group home environment, will have an increased need for a sense of belonging and a heightened desire for financial and materials goods to fit in with their peers.
One of the most important factors we must address is how we view these exploited children – they are not, and can never be, criminals. They are victims. This is vital in how we can support children and prevent them from becoming involved in gangs in the first place – they need to know that they are not to blame, and that there is another life for them outside of a gang.
Investment in, and the recognition of the transformative powers of, mentoring as a prevention measure is the next step. It is ten times harder to help an exploited child from a county lines gang once they have already been initiated, than if we can recognise the signs and step in to help steer a vulnerable child away from that path in the first place.”
You can read Emily’s full article on the Government Events website here.
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