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Child Criminal Exploitation/County Lines

INFORMATION TAKEN FROM Child criminal exploitation and County Lines - Norfolk County Council


Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) is where an individual or group uses their position of power to take advantage of a child or young person under the age of 18 and coerces, controls, manipulates or deceives them into criminal activity.

This could be:

  • In exchange for something, the victim needs or wants such as money, clothes, mobile phones.

  • For the financial gain or other advantages of the perpetrator or facilitator.

  • Through violence or the threat of violence.

CCE involves children with many vulnerabilities being exposed to, and/or being a victim of physical and emotional violence, neglect, going missing, sexual abuse, sexual grooming and exploitation, modern-day slavery, human trafficking and domestic abuse.


Even if the activity appears to be consensual, the victim may have been criminally exploited. CCE does not always involve physical contact, it can also happen through the use of technology. This could include making contact through social media and posting videos on YouTube which glamorise gang violence, drug-taking and knife crime, as well as using and making music videos to make threats to other young people.



County Lines

County Lines is a term used to describe the involvement of organised criminal networks and street gangs in moving illegal drugs from cities to other parts of the UK. In Norfolk, the originating city is usually London.

Much of the activity and ‘business’ is conducted over a dedicated mobile phone line. Criminal networks involved in County Lines often exploit children and vulnerable adults to move and store drugs, money and weapons.  This is frequently reinforced through coercion, intimidation and violence, including the use of sexual violence and weapons.

There is a growing concern about CCE in Norfolk and specifically the links to ‘County Lines’.

If you think a child or vulnerable adult is at risk of criminal or sexual exploitation in Norfolk:

  • Call 0344 800 8020 and speak to someone at Norfolk Children’s Advice and Duty Service (CADS)

  • Ring 101 to speak to Norfolk Police.  In an emergency always dial 999.

  • Ring 0800 555 111 for Crimestoppers or contact them via the Crimestoppers website