THE national charity Crimestoppers has launched a new campaign across Wales to help young people stay safe from drugs and exploitation.

The digital campaign, promoted through the charity’s Fearless youth service, is raising awareness of the harm that drug dealers can cause based on real-life case studies. The stories highlight how the dealers can prey on those going through difficult times, and in particular how ‘County Lines’ gangs exploit young people.

Crimestoppers saw a 40% increase in information about drug-related crimes during the Covid-19 lockdown period. Whilst more people are choosing to give information about crime anonymously, the charity is concerned about the lack of reporting by young people, especially those at risk of exploitation.

Crimestoppers’ Fearless.org service was developed to inform and empower young people about crime issues that may affect them. Through anonymised case studies, the campaign aims to help young people spot the signs and speak up about crime and exploitation. For example, ‘Amy’s story’ shares how a teenage girl, who was isolated and struggling at school, was groomed and trapped into drug dealing.

The campaign hopes to build on the charity’s workshops within schools and youth groups, which reached over 32,000 young people in Wales last year. The pandemic has forced Fearless.org to increase its digital engagement, including creating a new trailer to promote the forthcoming public release of its film Running the Lines and new background character stories.

Ella Rabaiotti, Wales Manager at the charity Crimestoppers, said:

“The stories we’re sharing this summer through our Fearless.org campaign show how criminals easily target and exploit vulnerable young people to move and deal with drugs. It’s been a challenging year for young people and we want them to know we’re here for them if they have information about the crime.

“Our message for young people is that if you are worried about your involvement, or a friend’s involvement in drug crime including County Lines, a good option is to speak to an adult you trust and talk to them about your concerns. But for those who want to give information on County Lines and drugs anonymously, you can visit the Fearless Website to use our online form. Our charity is making a difference every day to help people stay safe, but we can’t do this without your support.”

To find out more about Fearless.org and give information about crime and exploitation anonymously, visit the campaign page here.

To watch the Running the Lines Trailer, visit the YouTube film here.

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