Our Pan London project – responding to county lines and exploitation

Since January 2022, we have been running a project called Pan London. This is a collaborative data-sharing initiative with the aim of transforming how London is responding to human trafficking.

We have been collecting anonymous data on incidents of modern slavery and human trafficking from a range of partners across London – including police, local authorities, health services and NGOs.

From the data we have collected, it is clear that young people aged 12-24 are most vulnerable to exploitation within London – specifically through involvement with county lines gangs and criminal exploitation.

We are responding to these issues by running a geo-targeted prevention campaign on TikTok – a platform which is increasingly being used by exploiters to recruit young people.

The campaign has three main objectives in relation to the prevention of trafficking:

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*Two videos were created for this campaign one targeted to males and the other one for females. Featured above is the female video. 

We recognise the importance of having lived experience voices involved in this work, so we worked with Oasis Academies to run focus groups with different year groups, collecting baseline knowledge of both county lines and TikTok.

This has allowed us to speak to young people using language they understand and increase our reach. We have also received feedback from survivors of exploitation on all of our campaign material.

In addition to running the campaign itself, we recently ran a survivor-led workshop with a group of 20 young people aged 11-15, who are at high risk of criminal exploitation and county lines. This was led by Aisosa Henkoma from the Lived Experience Advisory Panel.

“Treat them like your own”. Aisosa stresses the importance of young people speaking to those with lived experience, so that they can relate and feel safe in that space. He states that young people often don’t talk in front of teachers or professionals, because they worry that this trust will be broken.  

We also trained a group of Oasis Academy primary school teachers on child exploitation, making them aware of high risk factors, how to spot the signs and how to safeguard young people.

Campaign reach so far

Our pre-campaign poll, launched ahead of the campaign, received over 15,000 votes. 65% of respondents said they understood the risks young people face with being exploited into running drugs and weapons, compared to 34% who didn’t.

However, 73% of young people reached said that they would not know where to go for support if them or a friend were being exploited. This highlights the need for information on where to go for support.

At the time of writing, we have been running the campaign for two weeks and we have reached 1,404,845 young people across London. 22,015 young people have clicked to learn more.

Further updates will be posting in the coming weeks, so please keep an eye on the STOP THE TRAFFIK website and social media channels.

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