Latest modern slavery fight updates -

How to Spot Trafficked Child Drug Couriers

  • Published on
    April 6, 2018
  • News Source Image
  • Category:
    Child Slavery, Forced Labor, Prevention
Hero Banner

Children across Britain are being used by gangs as couriers to send drugs from big cities to rural towns and coastal cities. Recognizing this growing trafficking trend, bus drivers and train staff are learning how to spot the signs that a child may be a victim.

On new transportation posters sponsored by the Home Office, staff are advised that a child travelling alone who does not have a local accent or who receives “excessive text messages” may be in trouble. The gangs use these children to move cash and drugs across the country through a distribution model called “country lines.”

The National Crime Agency says that at least 720 of these country lines exist across England and Wales.

The BBC reports:

An NCA report, published in November, said: “County lines groups tend to use younger members to identify and target other children, either through personal or social media links.

“They focus on those who are particularly vulnerable or at a crisis point in their lives. They are groomed and enticed by gang members to work within the drugs distribution network.”

The majority of children recruited by county lines networks are aged 15-17 and male, the report said, adding: “This is because they are less likely to be known to police and more likely to receive lenient sentences if caught.”

The Home Office poster campaign specifically tells transportation service employees to be on the lookout for children who are alone in shopping centres or travelling during school hours, late at night, or early morning.

“Some may be with older individuals who are purchasing tickets for them or giving them money for tickets. They could be receiving excessive texts or phone calls,” says the poster.

“Are they deliberately avoiding authority figures such as police officers or security guards?”

The campaign asks anyone who sees something that seems suspicious to report the incident to Crime Stoppers at 0800 555 111.


Freedom United is interested in hearing from our community and welcomes relevant, informed comments, advice, and insights that advance the conversation around our campaigns and advocacy. We value inclusivity and respect within our community. To be approved, your comments should be civil.

stop icon A few things we do not tolerate: comments that promote discrimination, prejudice, racism, or xenophobia, as well as personal attacks or profanity. We screen submissions in order to create a space where the entire Freedom United community feels safe to express and exchange thoughtful opinions.

Notify of
1 Comment
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
5 years ago


This week

Rounded up and abandoned: Europe’s covert support of migrant atrocities

It is well documented that inhumane immigration policies are forcing migrants to take extremely risky routes on their journey to seek asylum in Europe and globally. However, a year-long investigation by the Washington Post, Lighthouse Reports, and a consortium of international media outlets uncovered that migrant lives are not just at risk due to sketchy channel crossings and being packed in the back of refrigerator trucks. To dissuade sub-Saharan

| Wednesday May 22, 2024

Read more