County lines is a term used to describe a type of criminal activity where drug dealers from urban areas exploit vulnerable people, including children and young people, to sell drugs in smaller towns and rural areas. The term “county lines” refers to the phone lines that the dealers use to communicate with their customers.
Criminal exploitation, also known as child criminal exploitation or CCE, is a form of child abuse where children and young people are exploited by criminals to commit crimes. This can include drug dealing, theft, or other types of criminal activity.
The exploitation often involves grooming, intimidation, and coercion. Children and young people who are at risk of being exploited may have a range of vulnerabilities, such as being in care, having mental health issues, or being homeless.
The exploitation of children and young people for criminal purposes is a serious problem, and it is important for communities, law enforcement agencies, and social services to work together to protect vulnerable individuals and prevent these types of crimes from taking place.
County Lines is where illegal drugs are transported from one area to another, often across police and local authority boundaries (although not exclusively), usually by children or vulnerable people who are coerced into it by gangs.
The ‘County Line’ is the mobile phone line used to take the orders of drugs. Importing areas (areas where the drugs are taken to) are reporting increased levels of violence and weapons related crimes as a result of this trend.
Children as young as 12 years old have been exploited into carrying drugs for gangs. This can involve children being trafficked away from their home area, staying in accommodation and selling and manufacturing drugs.