Taking a stand against exploitation

Everyone can be affected by exploitation. We have a shared responsibility to build healthy and happy communities. City businesses are a key player in this partnership.

By City of London Corporation’s Community and Children’s Services Director: Ade Adetosoye

Stand around long enough in the City of London and you’ll be told how unique a place the City really is. We have very few residents comparatively speaking (8,072 at the last count), while our working community currently reaches 414,600 – over 50 times higher.

I’m under no illusion that, while resident statistics may be lower for the City, we all need to play our part in protecting our children and young people, living within our City communities, from the potential threats posed by gangs, radicalisation and child sexual exploitation (CSE).

Local authorities’ responsibilities have significantly increased as the Government sets out its case for tackling the likes of radicalisation through measures like the Prevent duty.

The protection, or safeguarding as those working in this area term it, of our children and young people has always been a prominent focus for us at the City of London Corporation and we’re proud of the work we do to make a positive impact in their lives.

But I’m more than aware that we, here at the City Corporation, can’t make a lasting impact alone. Building good working relationships with the voluntary sector and communities to tackle issues like exploitation sounds obvious and it is. But it remains one area that organisations can, and do, fall down on.

It’s only by working with our partners in genuine collaboration, be they health providers and surgeries, libraries and the police to name just a few, that we can start getting to the root of difficult, sensitive problems like exploitation, whatever form it may take.

We’ve never worked in isolation in the City and the national review of Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) gives us a good opportunity to further strengthen this wider partnership.

Our business community should be sitting at the table with us alongside our other partners as we discuss how to protect and safeguard the more vulnerable members of the community here in the City. After all, a happier workforce is indicative of happier communities where families, children and young people can fulfil their potential.

Part of my role here at the City Corporation is to pick up any emerging trends around issues such as exploitation via regular forums like our Safer City Partnership. This way, we can capture recurring themes from our evidence base and ensure we circulate them to our key partners, including the City of London Police and health service providers. Our City Corporation Domestic Abuse Forum, and its broadening membership across the wider voluntary sector, is another way we ensure key partners are kept at the forefront of emerging trends at all times.

All our partners need to be aware of their duties and how to exercise their new powers in relation to the Care Act – another measure introduced by the Government to safeguard vulnerable adults, targeting domestic abuse as well as modern slavery and trafficking.

We’ve made good progress developing our wider professional partnership. But that’s not the whole story. We’re keen that members of our business community, along with the general public, gain a better understanding of the signs of exploitation, child sexual exploitation (CSE) in particular, and what they should do if they’re concerned.

So, today sees us launching our campaign, Spotting the Signs of Exploitation, to help do just that. It’s aimed at the general public and highlights the signs to watch out for and to call the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000 with any concerns.

Again this is very much a joint venture with our partners within the City Police, and the NSPCC amongst others, playing their part in reaching members of the local community.

To find out more about the campaign and what you can do to support it, take a look at our campaign webpage #spotthesigns

You’ll be hearing from us again on Friday (18 March) when Chris Pelham, Assistant Director of People, marks National CSE Awareness Day.

Useful links