'County Lines' is the first comic book designed to educate children who are at risk of grooming and exploitation in the UK's drug-trade
by Isabel Domingo in London, England, United Kingdom
County Lines is the first comic book designed to open a conversation with children who are at risk of grooming and exploitation in the UK's drug-trade.
Our groundbreaking comic book will empower children to recognise the signs of exploitation and raise concerns if they or their friends are at risk.
The comic is in its creation stage and we need your help to bring it to life!
By backing us, you will help create a safer environment for children to grow up in, free from exploitation.
Everyone who donates will get a free e-copy of our comic book! And please see the rewards on the right hand-side.
County lines refers to ‘organised criminal networks involved in exporting illegal drugs into one or more importing areas within the UK, using dedicated mobile phone lines or other form of “deal line”. They are likely to exploit children and vulnerable adults to move and store the drugs and money.' — Home Office, 2018
'Child Criminal Exploitation is common in county lines and occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, control, manipulate or deceive a child or young person...They [organised criminal groups] will often use coercion, intimidation, violence (including sexual violence) and weapons.' — Home Office, 2018
Liberty Lines Project has teamed up with rapper Phoenix da Ice Fire, Sovereign Comics, and Youth Unity’s county lines expert Paul McKenzie, to design a comic book that speaks to children by entering their world.
We need to empower children to recognise the signs of exploitation and raise concerns if they or their friends are at risk.
It is not that these stories have not been told – grime and drill music, TV shows like Top Boy, films like Blue Story and Ill Manors all explore the realities of county lines.
The problem is that these stories are not aimed at empowering younger children and are rated unsuitable for them to watch due to their content.
Our comic will facilitate an open conversation with young people about County Lines.
With your help we can provide copies of the comic book to schools and youth centres and use it as a tool to deliver educational training to children in years 7 and 8.
Our narrative will follow relatable characters as they move from exploited young person, to survivor, to superhero! In this way, children will see that they are not alone and that they too can become the superheroes of their own stories.
The interactive edition gives children the opportunity to explore different narratives, with their choices determining the outcome of the story. This will encourage young people to explore different decision-making models and their consequences within a safe space.
Our comic will provide a realistic narrative to assist our readers in identifying when they may be at risk of exploitation. Additionally, our narrative will explore four key stages in county lines exploitation:
As our story develops, we will signpost readers to relevant organisations and helplines that actively work to support young people and their families.
Founded by Paul Nelson and Dean Richards, Sovereign Comics is a group of highly creative minds behind a galaxy of new stories. Sovereign Comics creates incredible story content for young and old alike, from interactive learning resources to animation. They focus on the aspirational and educational as well as the all-out entertaining.
The most recent comic created by Sovereign Comics is the 'Super Healthy Comic', a powerful resource to aid the reduction of health-related inequalities among future generations in England.
Learn about: The Super Healthy Comic
We are delighted to work on this project with Paul McKenzie of Youth Unity CIC. Youth Unity CIC delivers projects across London and various parts of the UK, working primarily, but not exclusively, with young people.
Over the years, Youth Unity CIC has delivered workshops in schools, colleges and pupil referral units. They also run more specific intervention workshops aimed at young people at risk. These workshops are powerful and help to engage hard to reach cohorts.
They seek to safeguard children and young adults against the dangers of specific manipulation linked to criminal and/or sexual exploitation.
They offer non-judgemental advice via motivational workshops, which are delivered to local schools, youth organisations, and parents. These actors have a distinct need to understand the complexity of processes such as County Lines.
Paul will consult on and contribute to the comic content. He is a professional Public Speaker, Youth Worker, and Public Correspondent.
Post fundraising, our comic will be in education centres within 7 months.
The biggest logistical risk for this project is timing. Since this is Issue #1, there may be some unanticipated setbacks along the road that may push back our publication date. Such setbacks may include printing or shipping issues, creation delays, or – the best kind of surprise – additional content to add once we have reached our pledged goal!
The uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic may cause unforeseen challenges. We will remain in communication with those who pledge and provide clear updates about any issues we may be facing.
This project offers rewards in return for your donation.