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Are we glamourising County Lines?

I must be clear from the outset that the opinions in this post are my own. They stem from my own personal experience suffering at the hands of a County Lines gang. I am not claiming to be a professional, I have the utmost respect for all the authorities, charities and organisations who spend so much time fighting against County Lines, nor am I disregarding the severity of exploitation within County Lines.

What I found most unnerving throughout my experience, and still do to this day, is how cunning, clever and manipulative young people are.

The more awareness that's being spread on child exploitation, the more I have seen youngsters use it to their advantage. A rhetorical question I once mused out loud in the presence of a former young County Lines gang member; which I never thought would be answered- did indeed get answered (and very thoroughly if I may say so myself);

Why would any young person want to be labelled a victim of child exploitation? Surely that's embarrassing?

The response...

Nah, the pros outweigh the cons init! A bit of embarrassment is calm when it means you ent getting into no trouble, feds will just allow it. School feel sorry for you and let mans have time off- which means we get more work. The social give you p's for like, laptops n shit. Yo, my bredrin even went into foster care and now he's living with millionaires! Nuff said G!

I had to give the kid begrudging respect, but his answer terrified me! More specifically, the scope of the manipulation tactics that youngsters were using for their own gain. Do our government, local authorities and charities, not realise we are inadvertently glamourising being a child exploitation victim to young people?

I consoled myself with the knowledge that it wouldn't be long before realisation dawned and thought nothing more of it... until today!!!


The culprit? Twitter!

I read a post written by an organisation campaigning against child exploitation, that was so...sickly...

Their presumption is that every young person involved in a County Lines gang is a victim of exploitation, trafficked and enslaved, but too naive to realise it.

I had to respond;

Just bare in mind that some of these YP are using the label 'victim' to their advantage

The organisation went apoplectic with rage. I was accused of being a cop, I was told that I was categorically wrong, the organisation stated that I had no idea what I was going on about.

On and on it went.

I wasn't angry, I was disappointed with an organisation like that being so narrow minded and unprofessional. I pitied them. Like a high speed train crash in slow motion, I could see the outcome. I don't think I need to go into detail. The phrase "bent over and fucked up the arse" comes to mind though.

But by a teenager! Yikes!

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