Gemma's Story

This is the true story of Gemma. Details have been changed to protect her identity.

In 2019, the Office for National Statistics estimated that 27,000 children are in gangs, many of whom are exploited and used to distribute drugs through County lines.

"It comes suddenly.
Heart racing,
a huge surge of panic
I'm back there.

He was called Ty,
He was the gangleader,
I was no one and he picked me.

I hated my mum's new boyfriend and now I had one of my own,
we all took drugs.
I didn't want to stand out so I took them too.

Went into a world of numbness - off my face most days.
Then one day he said:
I can't give them to you for free no more,
you've got to work for them.

We'd get a call and I'd take the crack... the heroine... to the person who ordered it
and bring back the cash.

I had to carry the drugs inside me,
and I had to go anywhere;
Strange places that scared me, parts of the country I'd never even heard of.

I was frightened all the time.
My boyfriend was just using me to run county lines.
He didn't love me.

Then Wendy found me,
the Police had spotted me and she was the one that reached out,
Got me away.
So now I live in a safe house, different part of the country
trying to rebuild my life.
But it's hard, getting off drugs is hard and I don't think I'll ever trust anyone again.

And I'm still scared..."

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Written by April De Angelis, performed by Lara Lemon

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