VIDEOS giving an insight into the world of county lines and child exploitation will be shown in schools across Hampshire.

The county’s Willow Team – a multi-agency team that works with young people at risk of being exploited – and Strong Island Media from Portsmouth have put together a short video series and teaching toolkit on child exploitation.

The package, which will be given to schools for free, highlights the push and pull factors in children being drawn into the world of crime or sexual exploitation, the tell-tale signs to look out for and what young people can do if they find themselves in a difficult situation.

Neil Connelly, Hampshire County Council’s social work team manager, said: "We have a lot of schools in our area now, and getting around all of them is proving difficult not only for us, but for police as well.

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"We wanted to look at child exploitation in the context of things like county lines and the impact it can have.

"Teachers are educators first and foremost, so might not know everything about subjects like this. These videos and teaching packs will give them everything they need to get on with the job in hand."

In one of the videos, a teenager is picking up a rucksack as part of a drug operation, when he and his friend are ambushed by another gang.

By losing the rucksack, he ends up in debt to a drug dealer, who uses the debt to exploit the youngster and coerce him into more criminal activity.

These videos will be shown to students in Year 6 and above, as a preventative measure to stop young people from falling into a life of crime.

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Mr Connelly said: "Initially I was concerned about showing this sort of thing to Year 6 pupils – but they’re in such a transitional period of their lives, preparing to move to secondary school, and the earlier you can highlight the dangers to them, the safer they will be in the long run.

"The teaching packs also vary greatly between Year 6 to Year 10 and 11, so that all year groups are properly catered for."

Hampshire County Council and the Willow Team are also looking at how to expand the teaching toolkits for children’s homes, foster carers and youth organisations like Scouts and Girls’ Brigade.

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