Preventing exploitation over Easter
Missing People is excited to announce that we are partnering with JCDecaux to promote our Is This Ok? campaign over the Easter break. While the two-week break will be welcomed by many, we know that exploitation is a real risk for thousands of young people across the UK. The use of digital billboards are a crucial initiative because research shows that young people are particularly vulnerable to abuse, whether it is physical, emotional, or sexual. The campaign seeks to help young people recognise when they are being exploited and to empower them to seek support from our anonymous chatbot service.
To reach as many young people as possible, we are using digital billboards to display our message. The digital billboards will be placed in high-footfall train stations across London, Birmingham, and Liverpool. This will ensure that the campaign reaches as many people as possible. We know that many young people will be out and about during the Easter break, so this is an ideal time to launch the campaign.
Is This Ok? is our anonymous chatbot service to support young people across the UK dealing with issues of exploitation. People like Ava. Aged just 10 years old described being sexually trafficked by her mother and forced to go to different properties to be abused by men, often being taken out of school so this could happen. She chatted for nearly an hour with our chat supervisor Nel, who, very gently, explored what was going on, reassuring Ava, especially about confidentiality. Ava felt safe enough to describe these horrendous circumstances. Nel continued to support Ava, explaining Ava’s options for support, all the while being ready to take action to safeguard. Ava did not feel able to disclose to anyone else. Before Ava left the chat she told Nel she would come back and chat to us again.
A week later Ava came back and chatted on IsThisOK? to our service staff. She remembered she had talked with Nel. She talked for a while about the prospect of telling her teacher. Ava asked Nel if she thought her teacher would think she wanted to do these things and if she would get into trouble. Again, Nel was sensitive and empathetic. Nel explained to Ava that she had done nothing wrong and that what was happening to her was abuse. Nel explained to Ava that other services might want to talk to her, to make her safe. At the end of the chat, Ava said she felt able to tell her teacher, and that she would come back and talk to us again.
Collaboration to reach young people
JCDecaux is a leading outdoor advertising company, and we are delighted to be working with them to reach as many people as possible with our vital message. We are grateful to JCDecaux for their support and expertise in helping us to develop the Is This Ok? campaign. Last year, we announced funding from the London Violence Reduction Unit, helping to safeguard young people in our capital city. Finally, we would like to encourage young people to use our Is This Ok? service. If you are unsure whether a relationship is healthy or respectful, you’re caught up in issues of abuse, talk to us in confidence. There is support available, and you should never feel alone or ashamed.Get help