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Kent Police officers to visit hotels and taxi firms to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation

PUBLISHED: 10:07 18 March 2016 | UPDATED: 10:07 18 March 2016

Kent Police

Kent Police

Archant

Today (Friday) is National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day

Three months on from the formation of a multi-agency child sexual exploitation team in Kent, officers will be out raising awareness of the crime today.

Taxi offices and hotels will be visited by officers as they aim to raise awareness and inform the public of warning signs of exploitative behaviour.

Since the team was set up in December, it has received 600 pieces of intelligence to assess and taken more than 300 calls.

A number of suspects have reportedly been arrested.

Detective inspector Angie Chapman from the child sexual exploitation team said: “Exploitation of children isn’t specific to any particular group or section of society, which is why we all need to be on our guard and look for signs that children might be being subjected to exploitation or coercion.

“Common signs include a child having unexplained gifts or expensive items, going missing or regularly running away, sudden changes in behaviour or getting into or out of different vehicles regularly.

“We have an awareness campaign that has been running since December 2015 but national days of awareness such as this are an opportunity for us to improve people’s knowledge and our ability to identify offenders and safeguard victims.”

Anyone with any information, or who has concerns that a child might be being sexually exploited can call Kent Police on 101, quoting Operation Willow. You can also call or text 116000.

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