"Trafficking can affect all walks of life, not just those from more deprived areas. All young people can be vulnerable to exploitation."
John Piekos CEO, and former police officer
A CHARITY set up to prevent human trafficking is working with schools across the UK to help recognise and stop the exploitation of young people.
SAFE has designed a free educational resource to educate young people on the ways that grooming, child sexual exploitation (CSE) and trafficking can occur.
John Piekos CEO, a former police officer who set up SAFE, said: “Trafficking can affect all walks of life, not just those from more deprived areas. All young people can be vulnerable to exploitation; social media, the internet and growing independence can all come together to increase risk.
“We believe the best way to protect young people is through education. If they have the skills to spot any such attempt to target them or their friends, they will recognise it. know what to do about and where to get help.”
The team at SAFE work with teachers and students to continually improve the project in order to better protect young people - both online and in their everyday lives.
SAFE, which was set up in 2012, has helped rescue several victims from trafficking.
But the charity would like to help put an end to the crime for good. This is why the team believe that better educating young people is the first stepping stone to preventing this crime.
SAFE has created an age appropriate pack for teachers to use with their pupils, ensuring the resource is engaging, despite the difficult nature of the topic.
It works with schools to look at real-life case studies of people affected by grooming, how to be aware of the problem and how to protect themselves and others.
Grooming, CSE and trafficking can happen to both girls and boys and SAFE’s work reflects this.
John said: “We have worked with victims of CSE and trafficking and have seen the terrible effects it’s had on them. Each of these encounters strengthens our resolve to put an end to slavery.
“We also want to inspire young people to make a difference and help them to see that they can be part of the solution to the problem of grooming and trafficking by understanding it more completely.
“It is important to be aware of how someone might seek to exploit a particular vulnerability. It also helps for young people to know there are trusted adults who they can turn to. It’s important that they can voice any concerns they have about a friendship or relationship at an early stage.”
· Teachers can sign up to SAFE’s FREE educational pack, visit www.safeandfree.co.uk