COUNCILLORS have unanimously backed a national campaign that aims to clamp down on child sexual exploitation.
Children’s charity Barnardo’s has launched a national campaign to raise awareness about the issue.
Now councillors in Hartlepool have shown their support by backing a motion.
Labour group leader, Councillor Chris Simmons, put forward the following motion: “Hartlepool Borough Council supports Barnardo’s campaign to cut children free from sexual exploitation and will continue to take the necessary steps to protect the children of Hartlepool from this form of abuse.”
Coun Simmons said: “My aim is to show solidarity with the Barnardo’s campaign to stamp out child exploitation.
“We have very robust procedures in place in Hartlepool but Barnardo’s want to raise awareness and I would urge everyone to give their full support.”
Labour councillor Pamela Hargreaves said: “This is one of those rare motions that I am confident everyone will vote in favour of.
“This isn’t political but a sad indictment of our society.
“It is saddening that their are children that are being exploited, alone and without support.
“We have the responsibility and duty to support and protect every single one of our children to make sure that they are allowed to grow up and be the child they should be.”
Councillors unanimously voted in favour at a recent meeting of the full council.
Barnardo’s is the UK’s leading children’s charity and it runs more than 400 projects across the UK that aim to transform the lives of children and young people.
Figures from the charity show that last year more than 6,000 victims of child sexual exploitation were identified by police, almost 1,000 more than the year before.
Experts say that the true number could be even higher.
For more information about the campaign, visit www.barnardos.org.uk