Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE)
Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) involves organised criminal gangs taking advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, control, manipulate or deceive a young person into criminal activity
a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or
b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator and/or
c) through violence or the threat of violence.
Children can be exploited by adult males or females, as individuals or in groups. They may also be exploited by other children, who themselves may be experiencing exploitation – where this is the case, it is important that the child perpetrator is also recognised as a victim.
Like other forms of abuse and exploitation, criminal exploitation can/may:
- Affect any young person under the age of 18 years
- Affect any vulnerable adult over the age of 18 years
- Still be exploitation, even if the activity appears to consensual
- Involve force, enticement or blackmail
- Be accompanied by threats of violence or actual violence
- Be perpetrated by individuals or groups, males or females, other children or adults
- Involve a power imbalance in favour of those perpetrating the exploitation.
Whilst the age of the child may be a contributing factor for an imbalance of power, there are a range of other factors that could make a child more vulnerable to exploitation, including, sexual identity, cognitive ability, learning difficulties, communication ability, physical strength, status, and access to economic or other resources.
Signs of a young person’s involvement in CCE may include:
- Changes in behaviour
- Frequently missing from care, home or education
- Unexplained money, gifts or new possessions
- Unexplained injuries
- Graffiti-style tags on possessions
- Carrying weapons
- Interest in music which glorifies weapons and gang culture
- Getting involved in fights
- Committing crimes, such as shoplifting.
Adults may also be vulnerable and at risk of exploitation by gangs if they are elderly, are single parents, have learning difficulties or mental health problems or are dependent on drugs or alcohol.