Operation Henderson

Operation Henderson, is a joint initiative being run by Essex Safeguarding Children Board, British Transport Police, Essex Police, Rail Operators and Braintree, Basildon and Epping district councils and the Children’s Society. It aims to raise awareness of the vulnerability of young people to exploitation and abuse at stations and transport networks in parts of Essex.

Research and local data have shown transport networks are used by vulnerable young people who may be at risk of CSE/CCE and trafficking. Young people often gravitate towards stations because they are busy, anonymous places that also provide some form of shelter and access to food and drink. A young person may use a station or public transport as a way to try to disappear. Bus and rail networks can also be used by offenders to traffic young people for the purpose of sexual and criminal exploitation.

What to look out for
  • Children who are alone and look frightened and maybe have no tickets or money to pay the fare
  • Children/adults who look frightened in the company of other children or adults
  • Children travelling alone at night
  • Those who do not look comfortable with adults they are travelling with
  • Allows others to speak for them when addressed directly
  • Those under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Children in school uniform during the school day
  • Their physical appearance may show signs of injury, malnourishment and maybe unkempt


If you're a young person:

You may notice these things about your friend or your friend might tell you some of these things:

  • Staying out late or not going back home at night
  • Using drugs and/or alcohol
  • Not spending time with friends and family
  • Hanging out with older people
  • Spending a lot of time online
  • Being secretive
  • Having an older boyfriend or girlfriend
  • A big change in behaviour or the way someone looks
Reporting Concerns

The Police: If you have any intelligence or wish to report concerns please call 101. If you think a child or young person is in immediate danger always call 999.

British Transport Police can be contacted by phone on 0800 40 50 40 or members of the public can report a crime or an incident that occurred on your train via text 61016.

You can report concerns anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or www.crimestoppers-uk.org

The information you give however insignificant it may seem, might be the piece of the jigsaw puzzle that completes a picture. The police would rather you report your concerns.


If you're a young person and want advice or to talk to someone:

Childline: 0800 1111 or www.childline.org.uk

Essex Partnership of Rape Crisis Centres: Specialist support and confidential counselling for adults, children and young people across Essex, who have experienced sexual violence. Victims can refer online: synergyessex.org.uk or 0300 003 7777

British Transport Police: 0800 405 040 or text 61016

Missing people: Call or text 116 000

NSPCC: Call our 24hrs helpline anonymously: 0808 800 5000

The Children’s Society: 01245 493311 www.childrenssocietyeast.org.uk

Barnardos: www.barnardos.org.uk