A TEENAGE rape victim has told how she was recruited by “county lines” gangsters who held a gun to her head and forced her to smuggle drugs inside her body.
The vulnerable youngster – identified only as Danielle, 15 – was exploited by the ruthless crew after she went to them for protection following her sex attack ordeal.
Danielle was terrified she would be attacked again so turned to a gang on her estate, knowing they could keep her safe.
She ended up getting into a relationship with a senior member who before long had her smuggling crack and smack into rural areas across England.
Danielle tells BBC Radio 4’s Lost on the Line documentary: “I’ve had a gun held to my head in country. My friends have been stabbed in country.
“When you’re in the countryside it’s business, no one’s laughing and joking. We’re here to make money and not get killed.
“I wanted to be protected by them. Let me go to the scariest, most dangerous people and fit in with them basically. Nobody, nothing could hurt me when I’m in this group of people.
“I had to make myself useful and my boyfriend at the time, that was what he wanted me to do. I was just prepping the drugs in my house.”
I’ve had a gun held to my head in country. My friends have been stabbed in country. When you’re in the countryside it’s business, no one’s laughing and joking. We’re here to make money and not get killed.
County lines gang victim Danielle, 15,
More than 1,500 County Lines gangs are thought to operate in Britain, making an estimated £1.8billion annual profit between them – it is heavily linked to the escalation in knife crime across the UK.
Children and vulnerable women are recruited and sent on trains to the English countryside to supply the areas with drugs. The tactic is known as “going country”.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) estimates profits from the trade nationwide are around £500m a year.
Danielle tells the show – set to be broadcast at 8pm tonight – how young women, like children, are valued by the ruthless drug crews because they are less likely to draw the attention of the police.
She said: “I was told, ‘You’re small and you’re white so you’re not gonna get stopped,’ which worked for a long time.
“People don’t talk about girls in county line gangs, we’re just hush hush.
“We’re really in the forefront of these businesses because we fly under the radar, which is why girls are being used.”
Danielle says seeing extreme violence became normal and she was often made to carry drugs inside her.
She went on: “I had to put that inside me. I didn’t want to do that, it was like forced on me. It’s not pleasant, it hurts.
“I knew in the dark times when I was in my own bed, that this is scary. I didn’t know I was trapped until I tried to leave.
“That’s why it’s so hard to leave, because you never want to be that girl that’s told the police anything.
“I never did tell the police anything. There was the threats, death threats for a long time.”
Last month we told how a terrified 14-year-old boy tried to hang himself after losing a £1,000 package of drugs and money, it has emerged today.
The teenager, forced by a gang to take the bundle to Margate and sell it, was almost driven to suicide after accidentally leaving it on a train.
The boy’s story is just one of many tragic tales, facts and findings the Sun Online has unearthed in shocking investigations into how County Lines gangs are destroying lives around the UK.
The number of British victims of modern slavery has skyrocketed by 72 per cent in a year, new figures show.
Campaigners fear the rise could be down to the growing number of victims who have been exploited through ‘county lines’ drugs gangs.
The number of UK nationals who have been identified as potential victims of trafficking have gone up from 1,246 in 2017-18 to 2,143 in 2018-19.
The proportion of all victims who are British are up to 26 per cent from 21 in one year, according to analysis by The Independent.
Campaigners say the shocking rise could pinpointed the increase in victims of the county lines drug activity, which is the sinister drug running technique that gangs are using to sell drugs in other towns by exploiting kids and vulnerable adults.
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