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HomeBlogVapingProtecting Our Youth: How Grooming Gangs Are Exploiting Vapes to Target Vulnerable Girls

Protecting Our Youth: How Grooming Gangs Are Exploiting Vapes to Target Vulnerable Girls

Police are warning that grooming gangs are luring girls as young as ten years old with vapes before taking advantage of them.

Chief Superintendent Nicky Porter, the district commander of GMP Rochdale, has issued a warning: grooming gangs are enticing kids in with vapes, then leaving them in “extremely vulnerable situations” where they can be taken advantage of.

Chief Superintendent Porter made this statement at the Greater Manchester Police headquarters: “Not everyone connects vapes with sexual exploitation or criminal exploitation, but what we’re finding with most cases of exploitation is that there are gateways into this type of offending, and that’s often by enticing young people with things that are desirable, that they might not be able to afford, like vapes, which at the moment are very much a must have commodity for some young people.

Vaping is the first step; it may encourage young people to consume vapes in specific places, which puts them in situations where they are easily taken advantage of.

Her remarks coincide with an increase in police reports regarding the distribution or sale of illicit vapes. Officers have been informed that establishments are selling vapes to minors and that adults are passing them out in front of stores and educational institutions.
Chief superintendent Porter stated: Young individuals who are taken advantage of can be as young as 10 or as late as the midteens. The community is providing us with information regarding young people vaping and being in particular places, including outside of specific stores. As a result of our investigation, we learned that those adolescents might have more vulnerabilities that could leave them open to abuse.

Closing doors to child sex exploitation is the goal of GMP’s Rochdale district and its partner organisations, which include Rochdale Council Trading Standards.

2899 vape pens have been seized by Greater Manchester Police’s Operation Vigilant since January. Trading Standards has also retrieved twenty thousand more. There are presently twenty investigations in progress that could lead to closures or prosecutions.

Chief superintendent Porter stated that the sentencing today serves as an example of how abuse may have long-lasting effects on victims, extending into adulthood.

It took several years for the case to reach trial. She made the following observation in response to a question about why cases of grooming take so long to be heard: victims and survivors of these kinds of problems are extraordinarily brave and courageous to come forward. They have suffered horrendous abuse, and it takes tremendous bravery for them to come out and disclose it. For various people, this can occur at different periods. While some people may come forward right away, others may need months or even years.

It’s crucial to comprehend that, and as GMP, we must be victim-led and victim-focused. We collaborate closely with partners who are able to provide emotional and psychological help. Our collaboration with children’s social care is also intimate.
The first stage is vaping; it may encourage youth to use vapes in particular locations, placing them in settings where they are more vulnerable to exploitation.

She continued, saying that because of time and the availability of certain evidence, for instance, some of the older instances will become more complicated. Due to the involvement of numerous criminals and victims, some of the cases are very complicated.

Our approach is centred around the victim, but we also look for evidence and pursue offenders. I believe that today’s court decision demonstrates our unwavering determination to ensure that victims receive the justice they are due, no matter how much time passes.
She responded, “Please contact us no matter how small the concern is,” when asked what advise she would provide to parents and carers who are worried about exploitation or the sale or provision of unlawful vapes. A tiny bit of knowledge can help us prevent exploitation and create a larger picture.

We know how destructive it can become as it worsens, so it’s best to avoid this. It’s important for parents and other carers to have discussions with young people and ask themselves, “Who are they with?” What friends do they have? What content do they post on social media? And how do they behave?, and keeping an eye on the people they are interacting with.

Should you be encountering any of the problems discussed in this article, please do not hesitate to contact us, and we will try to assist you in any way we can. 

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