Operation Henderson, is a joint initiative being run by the Essex Safeguarding Children Board, Southend Safeguarding Children Partnership and Thurrock Safeguarding Children Partnership, British Transport Police, Essex Police, the Violence and Vulnerability Unit, Greater Anglia, C2C, TfL, The Railway Children, The Children’s Society, Social Care and local councils. 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 sexual exploitation, criminal exploitation and trafficking. Young people often gravitate towards stations because they are traditionally busy, anonymous places that also provide some form of shelter and access to food and drink. Bus and rail networks can also be used by offenders to traffic young people for the purpose of sexual and criminal exploitation.
As well as members of the public, all staff working within and around a station, from ticket collectors to engineers, coffee shop workers to cleaners, play an important role in safeguarding vulnerable young people.
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.
Crimestoppers You can report concerns anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or www.crimestoppers-uk.org
A young person may use a station or form of public transport in an attempt to disappear. Children run away for a number of reasons, on most occasions they return home safely. Every situation is different and there are no set rules about when a child should be considered missing. However, if you have any doubts about whether to contact the police formally to report a child missing, the police will be happy to discuss your concerns and offer advice about what to do.
Look Closer Campaign - a joint initiative with The Children’s Society and British Transport Police encouraging members of the public to learn the signs of child exploitation and understand how to report it if worried.
Spot It, Stop It scheme encourages businesses to sign up, where they will receive awareness training to increase their knowledge of CSE including the signs to look out for and how to report concerns.
Essex County Lines Campaign - Local campaign to increase knowledge and understanding, including where to turn to for help.