Exploitation: Children and Young People

Attorney General written question – answered on 4th October 2019.

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Photo of Lyn Brown Lyn Brown Shadow Minister (Treasury)

To ask the Attorney General, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the Crown Prosecution Service's complaince with legislation and guidance relating to the avoidance of unnecessary prosecution of children and young people who have been groomed, exploited or trafficked as part of county lines criminal activity.

Photo of Michael Ellis Michael Ellis The Solicitor-General

The exploitation, grooming, and trafficking of children and young people is abhorrent. The CPS takes great care to ensure the right people are prosecuted for the right offences in county lines cases, by training prosecutors to have an increased awareness of gang-associated exploitation and to scrutinise the evidence. This builds on clear CPS guidance which recognises the principle of non-prosecution of victims of trafficking or slavery.

Early identification by investigators is essential, in order to avoid the criminalisation of victims. On 1 October 2019, the Home Secretary announced a surge of activity to crack down on county lines drugs gangs. The package of measures, underpinned by £20 million of Home Office investment, will intensify law enforcement efforts to disrupt the county lines model, including the provision of specialist support to victims and families in order to help children and young people exit their involvement in county lines.

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