UK 'Chicken Shop' Gangs Lure Children Into Drug Trafficking By Free Food - Reports

(@FahadShabbir)

UK 'Chicken Shop' Gangs Lure Children Into Drug Trafficking by Free Food - Reports

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 12th August, 2019) Children excluded from schools in the United Kingdom are particularly vulnerable to being recruited by drag traffickers, often referred to as "chicken shop gangs" because of operating in fast food chain restaurants, to move drugs and money across the country with promise of free food, local media reported on Monday.

"Some [young people] shared that their peers had been targeted by gangs outside of Pupil Referral Units, as well as outside sports centres. They also said that sometimes children are recruited through an offer of food (referred to as chicken shop gangs) and they felt that schools could do more to keep children in school as it could be a protective factor from gang involvement," according to written evidence submitted to the Youth Select Committee under patronage of the Commons, cited by Sky news.

According to the report, the recruitment process follows a certain pattern. Minors, especially those excluded from school, frequently go to fast food chains seeking cheap meals and socializing.

Exploiters closely observe them and, upon establishing as a potential target, approach them offering free food. A child can then be offered an insignificant amount of money in exchange for a small service, such as acting as a lookout, and then eventually put on hook of having access to money and being part of a "family." Once underage recruits become part of the gang, they are precluded from leaving by threats and blackmail.

Last month, The Children's Society charity first sounded alarm about children as young as seven and as old as 17 being recruited to move drugs across the United Kingdom, as well as forced to work in cannabis factories and coerced into shoplifting. The organization called for including the definition of child criminal exploitation in the 2015 Modern Slavery Act and consulting on a new criminal offense for forcing children to insert and carry drugs within their bodies.

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