Children Must Be Protected From Criminal Exploitation – Alliance

The Alliance Party has raised concerns over the safeguarding of children at risk of exploitation.

The party's Spokesperson for Children and Young People, Sian Mulholland, raised the issue following a BBC Spotlight investigation into child exploitation involving drug gangs.

Earlier this week Spotlight revealed that children as young as eight are being targeted by paramilitary criminal gangs to take and/or sell drugs. Those who have become addicted and can no longer afford to pay for their drug debts are then coerced into criminal or sexual activities such as rioting on our streets.

The North Antrim MLA, Sian Mulholland, said: "It is clear that all children need protection from the paramilitary criminal gangs who are intent on exploiting and terrorising our communities.
News Image
"Children and young people are suffering because they feel like there is no help available to them and so often, these children are most at risk because of circumstances beyond their control. It is obvious that these criminal gangs prey on vulnerable children and they must be held accountable and stopped.

"We can no longer hide behind the mask of paramilitarism; this is criminality and exploitation at its worst. We need a coordinated and cross-departmental effort between Government and agencies to protect our children and young people.

"We all have a duty to discharge our functions and cooperate with one another in order to contribute to the well-being of our children and young people. I therefore call on all Departments, statutory agencies and non-governmental bodies to commit to tackling paramilitary gangs together."

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

26 January 2024
DUP Calls For Action On Car Insurance Price Increases
The DUP has called on the UK government to investigate car insurance price increases, especially for young drivers, in Northern Ireland.
17 January 2024
4 Corners Festival Bringing Young People Together Through Sports
This year's 4 Corners Festival is set to bring young people from local communities across Belfast together through the medium of sport. Now in its 12th year, the 4 Corners Festival was conceived as a way to inspire people from across the city to transform it for the peace and wellbeing of all.
14 March 2024
Alliance Calls For Action To Protect Young People Online
The Alliance Party has called for action to help young people faced with blackmail or similar situations online.
26 January 2024
Alliance Urges People To Respond To Obesity Care Consultations
Highlighting a growth in childhood obesity during the pandemic, the Alliance Party has urged as many people as possible to respond to a Department of Health consultation on a Regional Obesity Management Service and Framework to Prevent Harm.
11 April 2024
PHA Highlights Dangers Of Vaping 'Spice'
Parents and guardians have been urged to talk to young people about the dangers of vaping unknown substances as it could make them seriously ill or even be fatal. The Public Health Agency (PHA) warning focuses in particular on the dangers of vaping 'Spice', a synthetic drug which mimics the effects of cannabis.