Young Londoner Male34

At the Cost of Young Londoners

Safer London is deeply concerned about the impact the cost-of-living crisis is having on young Londoners. A new report from the London School of Economics shows a clear link between a 10% rise in the cost-of-living crisis and increases in violence.

We know that poverty, deprivation and a lack of positive opportunities for young Londoners drives violence and exploitation. Spiralling costs are pushing hundreds of thousands of young Londoners and their families into poverty. Families are struggling to access essential items, like food and safe housing, which in turn is leaving many young Londoners feeling desperate.

Criminals looking to exploit young Londoners are capitalising on this, using the context of poverty as a grooming tactic. Exploiters will often begin with smaller levels of ‘debts’ such as buying a young Londoner a sandwich if they can’t afford lunch. However, what begins as a small ‘debt’ quickly becomes a young Londoners entry into exploitation.

Before they even realise, young Londoners are trapped in exploitation – their lives shattered and futures stolen.

Denell, Service Manager

Young Londoner's sense of hope and having a future is taken from them as they are having to cope with surviving the pressures of daily life and supporting their families.

At Safer London we liken the compounding challenges that some young Londoners face and their entry into exploitation to a dam that bursts under pressure.

The effects the cost-of-living crisis has on young Londoners – austerity, inequality, limited opportunities – gather like water behind a dam. Over time, the weight of these pressures places such a strain on young Londoners that cracks begin to form. Eventually, a breaking point emerges – a moment when the dam can no longer withstand the mounting pressure, and it gives way.

In this moment of severe risk, some young Londoners are swept into a current of violence and exploitation. These young Londoners that find themselves at risk become caught in the grip of criminal networks and exploitative cycles, succumbing to situations out of their control. The futures that held promise are now submerged and the absence of support and the weight of systemic inequalities steer these young Londoners into often very tragic situations.

Report Illus 01
Illustration of a dam showing the various pressures that impact young Londoners.

The unfortunate reality is that 33% of children still live in poverty in London. We will not see a reduction in violence and child exploitation unless there is a comprehensive systemic intervention to tackle poverty. Until then, the cost-of-living crisis will continue to exacerbate all forms of exploitation, youth violence and vulnerability for young Londoners.

Donate today to help our caseworkers reach a young Londoner being exploited. Together we can help them break free from their exploiters and begin their journey to a positive future.

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