People across the region are being urged to unite against child sexual exploitation (CSE) and make a personal pledge to help tackle the abuse.
Councils across the West Midlands, along with West Midlands Police are supporting national CSE awareness day on Monday March 18.
Organised by the national charity NWG Network, which is dedicated to helping combat CSE, the day aims to encourage everyone to think, spot and speak out against abuse.
On the day people are asked to write a personal pledge on their hands and then post a photo of it on social media using #HelpingHands and #CSEDay19. The pledge can be anything, from speaking out, to educating others.
It aims to increase people’s understanding of child sexual exploitation and how to spot the warning signs in a child or young person’s behaviour that may indicate something is wrong.
Nick Page, chief executive of Solihull Council and regional CSE lead, said:
“This national day provides an opportunity for us to further increase awareness of CSE and how people can spot the warning signs.
“Please get involved. Make a personal pledge, post a photo on social media and then act on what you’ve decided to do.
“We all have our part to play in keeping our children and young people safe and being aware of the warning signs and acting on them early can prevent abuse happening or escalating.
“Please visit www.seeme-hearme.org.uk to find out more and make your own pledge on March 18 to help stop this abuse.”
Dudley, Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Walsall, Sandwell, Solihull and Coventry councils along with the police and partner organisations are working together to raise the profile of CSE in the region through the see me, hear me campaign.
Warning signs of CSE include having friends who are older, persistently going missing, secretive relationships with unknown adults, truancy from school, chronic fatigue, constant calls on a mobile phone and the possession of money or new things.
Anyone who is concerned about the safety of a young person should call West Midlands Police on 101, speak in confidence to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or in an emergency call 999.
Childline also have counsellors available online at www.childline.org.uk
To find out more about the national CSE awareness day, visit visit www.stop-cse.org/
People can find out more information about child sexual exploitation by visiting www.seeme-hearme.org.uk