Sexual exploitation and radicalisation are also key areas of concern, the force said. Recruiters can loiter on street corners and approach children walking to and from class offering them a chance to “make some quick money”, a specialist said.

Others may be groomed over a period of months either in person or online.

DI Bediako Ahenkora, of the Met’s specialist crime unit, shed light on the matter in an exclusive interview with the Evening Standard.

The detective leads one of five investigation teams targetting serious organised crime, modern slavery and child exploitation.

“Those who want to exploit children look for those who are vulnerable,” he said.

“There are different ways of being recruited. It could be location based where they are approaching young people in the street.

“It’s not just care homes and schools but any places such as taxi ranks and fast food joints where they are known to congregate.”

Once enlisted some children go on to recruit their peers and expand the network, the detective explained.

He added: “Online is another means of recruitment through social media as a key avenue.”

As many as 4,000 teenagers are being criminally exploited in London alone and children as young as six forced to carry and sell drugs, according to the Children’s Society.

Read the full article from the Evening Standard below:

Source: Criminals recruit vulnerable children outside homes and schools

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