Have they started coming home with money, clothes, jewellery or mobile phones they can't account for?
Have they begun a relationship with an older boyfriend or men that you are concerned about?
Have you had concerns that they could be using drugs and/or alcohol?
Has there been a change in their mood or behaviour?
Are they losing contact with family and friends of their own age and spending time with an older age group?
Do they lack self-esteem?
Are they secretive about where they have been and with whom?
Are they chatting online to people you have never met?
What can be done?
Local agencies want to identify the people targeting and abusing children. They also want to support the young people involved and their families. They promise to treat information in complete confidence.
You are not alone - agencies are already working with other children thought to be victims or targets.
If you suspect that your child has been the target of sex exploitation in Telford, contact the Children and Young People department on:
01952 385700 (office hours) 01952 676500 (out of hours)
Elsewhere in the county, if you believe you or your child has been targeted, contact Shropshire Council on 0345 678 90 08.
Wherever you're based in Shropshire, you can also contact the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000 or West Mercia Police on 0300 333 3000.
Stay safe online
Many of the cases we've uncovered, as part of our investigations, involve adults approaching children after school, or at underage events. However, across the country adults are increasingly using the internet to groom children and persuade them to meet face-to-face.
Most young people use social networking sites like Bebo, Facebook and Myspace, and there are some simple ways children can protect themselves when online:
Make sure your profile is only viewable by your friends.
Do not approve friends to your network that you don't know in real life.
Don't post personal information like your full name, where you live, what school you go to, etc to a public area online.
Consider using a false name online, and setting up a separate e-mail address to register for sites.
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