On 17 July Redcliffe will be hosting a consultation on the theme of ‘Violence, Exploitation and Children: Shaping a Christian Response’. Although the day forms part of our Summer School MA module ‘Vulnerable Children: Bible, Theology and Society’ it is open to anyone to come along.
Details, including how to book can be found here: Violence, Exploitation and Children: Shaping a Christian Response
In a series of short posts this week I’ll be highlighting some of the themes being looked during them day.
You may have come across the term ‘County Lines’ in the news or wider media. The BBC News website, for example, has the tag County Lines Drug Trade. The Guardian newspaper has a similar tag: County Lines.
The National Crime Agency defines County Lines as:
a term used when drug gangs from big cities expand their operations to smaller towns, often using violence to drive out local dealers and exploiting children and vulnerable people to sell drugs. These dealers will use dedicated mobile phone lines, known as ‘deal lines’, to take orders from drug users… In most instances, the users or customers will live in a different area to where the dealers and networks are based, so drug runners are needed to transport the drugs and collect payment.
(National Crime Agency – https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/what-we-do/crime-threats/drug-trafficking/county-lines)
One particularly troubling aspect of County Lines is how ordinary technologies are used to recruit, manipulate, and control vulnerable young people. This article in the Guardian newspaper offers a particularly stark explanation of how social media is used by gangs. It is a difficult but necessary read: ‘County lines’ drug gangs tracking children via social media.
We are so grateful that we will be joined by The Children’s Society on the day of the consultation to talk through the issues involved in County Lines, explain how they are working to address it, and help us imagine how Churches can play a part in tackling this phenomenon. You can read about their work here: The Children’s Society.
We hope and pray that our day consultation will play an important part in raising awareness about this massive issue but also move from awareness to action. If you want to be part of the day, go to the event website to register: Violence, Exploitation and Children: Shaping a Christian Response