A school has released a disturbing video warning that wealthy students are at risk of being blackmailed into county lines drug trade by crooks who deceive them into providing embarrassing or intimate images.
The film produced by students in Years 7 and 8 at Trevelyan Middle School in the affluent town of Windsor with the support of the police examines how children from middle-class families can be groomed and pushed into joining county boundaries.
County lines involves gangs, typically from large cities, who use youngsters as young as nine to distribute drugs in smaller towns and rural areas via a network of mobile phones.
It follows concerns from former children’s commissioner Anne Longfield that drug gangs are grooming and exploiting an increasing number of middle-class children.
The Commission on Young Lives discovered earlier this year that aggressive drug dealers recruit and coerce adolescents in affluent regions to sell drugs.
In the film Notice Me, 12-year-old Elliott is groomed by an adult drug dealer, who gives him new sneakers and befriends him before exploiting him in the world of county lines.
Elliott, a 12-year-old boy in the film Notice Me, is groomed by an older drug dealer, who gives him new sneakers and befriends him before exploiting him in the world of county lines.
The assistant principal and director of the video, Brad Day, stated that the purpose of Notice Me is to dispel the notion that only children from specific backgrounds can fall into county lines.
The assistant principal and director of the film, Brad Day, stated that the purpose of Notice Me is to alter the assumption that only children from specific backgrounds can fall within county borders.
He told MailOnline, ‘Every child is at risk. A child from a middle class or who is intelligent is less likely to be located by authorities.
“Operations are expanding and exceedingly complex.” Too frequently is the word selection used. It is psychological manipulation and not a choice at all.
It is really detrimental that these children are locked in gangs for so long.
Freddie Wilson, who portrays Elliott, remarked, “I had no idea that could happen to any type of youngster from any family or region.”
Meanwhile, Freddie Wilson, who portrays Elliott, stated that he “never realized that could happen to any type of youngster from any family or region.”
Among the methods used to lure youngsters across county boundaries is the recording of humiliating photographs and films that can be used as blackmail if they attempt to flee.
Other children are manipulated into romantic connections, making them emotionally reliant and coercing them to take intimate images that can be used as blackmail.
Children not only acted in the film, but also contributed to writing the story, directing, editing, and producing the score to make it feel more authentic.
Experts in the field, such as County lines victim Emily Vaughn, the charity Space, and police and other frontline agencies, counseled them.
Over 100 schools have requested to utilize the film to teach youngsters in their personal, social, and health education classes, and Trevelyan believes that as word spreads, more schools will adopt the video.
The film’s authenticity was enhanced by the fact that children not only acted in it, but also authored the screenplay, directed, edited, and composed the score.