Over 150 people attended an online conference in September, organised by Central Bedfordshire Council’s Safer Communities & Partnership Team.
As part of the team’s work to tackle exploitation, along with other partner agencies, they continue to work to raise awareness of different types of exploitation including cuckooing, child sexual exploitation (CSE) and forced labour.
Eight different agencies spoke at the event, including the National Crime Agency, Bedfordshire Police, Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, YouTurn Futures, Path to Recovery, and Central Bedfordshire Council’s Adult Services team and Housing team.
St Giles Trust also presented and featured the stories of two young people who had previously been exploited by gangs.
They spoke about their own experiences, offering a valuable insight into how young people are targeted and exploited into criminality. Both have since turned their lives around after receiving support from St Giles Trust, which works with people facing challenges including poverty, deprivation, mental health issues and crime and helps them build a better future.
Cllr Ian Dalgarno, executive member for community services, said:
“We are working hard to make sure everyone – professionals and the public – knows how to spot the signs of exploitation so we can protect vulnerable people, safeguard victims and work with partners to take action against offenders. The conferences have proved really successful, and are just one of the ways we’re working to raise awareness.
“Our Safer Communities & Partnership Team have also been working with businesses across Central Bedfordshire as well – our communities are key to helping us tackle issues like this, so raising awareness of the signs of exploitation continues to be an important focus.”
To report concerns about cuckooing, residents can email Central Bedfordshire Council’s Safer Communities and Partnership team at: email@example.com.
They can also call Bedfordshire Police on 101 or report information online using their online reporting centre.
Or they can report information anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.