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Hotel staff to be trained on spotting child exploitation

We are working with hotel staff across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, to help them spot the signs of possible child sexual exploitation (CSE) and child criminal exploitation (CCE) along with how to report it to us.

Our latest operation, Operation Makesafe, will see officers and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) train hotel employees to identify any vulnerable person who may be at risk of child exploitation (CE) at their premises.

This training, which began in August 2022, involves hotel employees learning how to identify someone at risk as well as how to report potential CE in the most effective way.

As part of the operation, our contact centre staff have also been trained on how to categorise any reports of possible CE they receive.

Child exploitation involves perpetrators grooming their victims in various ways, such as in person, via mobile phones and online, to gain their trust before emotionally and sexually, abusing them.

The signs of CSE and CCE may often include: a young person with an older person who doesn't appear to be a relative or carer, a younger person looking anxious, distressed or upset and truancy from school.

Such exploitation can take many forms, with a young person often receiving some kind of payment, such as drugs, money, gifts or even protection and affection following the abuse.

Detective Sergeant Rebecca Price, of our Child Protection and Exploitation team, said: "Sadly, child sexual exploitation is happening as more and more young people are targeted by offenders looking to exploit them.

"This is why we’re training hotel staff to help them to understand what child sexual exploitation is and what the implications are.

“Being able to spot the signs and then be able to act to help those at risk is crucial in order to protect children.”

Anyone who is concerned about the safety of a young person should call Staffordshire Police on 101, speak in confidence to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or in an emergency call 999


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