County lines is a growing issue in the UK affecting many vulnerable young people. It is another form of modern slavery where criminal gangs organise the storage, sale and distribution of drugs from metropolitan cities to rural towns. As police operations have become more successful in uncovering the crime, so the manner of exploitation grows more sophisticated.
After identifying a market for their drugs, gangs will groom and recruit young people and will target any gender or ethnicity, using social media to make contact. Mobile phones are the key tool used in the chain usually provided by the gang to the young person to keep direct contact and control of them.
This subject follows on from our previous productions exploring modern slavery in other areas. Our new production CODE digs deeper into the issue. Read our research below.