More than 400 pub and hotel operators are being asked for their help to keep children and young people safe.
The Argyll and Bute Child Protection Committee has been in touch with licensed premises operators to ask them to keep an eye out for potential grooming victims.
It’s part of the Committee’s Child Protection Campaign, which is working to keep protect children and young people safe from child sexual exploitation.
Appeals are also being made to taxi drivers to be aware.
Operators of shops that sell alcohol are also being contacted as potential victims may be hanging around outside their premises.
The 400-plus hotels and pubs have now received leaflets, tailored for them, on what to look out for, and what to do next – and why they must act.
These include considering if a young customer appears to be:
With an older person or persons and appears to be in a relationship with one of them
Under the influence of alcohol or drugs
At their premises regularly with older people
Leaving and returning with multiple people while on the premises
Uncomfortable, agitated or stressed.
Policy Lead for Health and Social Care, Councillor Kieron Green, said: “Child sexual exploitation is a very serious issue and one we must all be aware of.
“It’s everyone’s responsibility to keep our children and young people safe from harm. We should know the signs to be aware of and how to act.
“Doing nothing is not an option. Their safety is paramount. Don’t assume others will do something and act quickly.
“We are contacting many different groups, from parents to people who work with children and young people.
“Among those groups are publicans and hoteliers, and we are doing so to raise their awareness of this issue and ask for their support.”
Among the questions they are being asked to consider are:
What have I seen?
What have I heard?
What do I feel is unusual or different?
What has actually happened?
What is my concern?
What is this telling me?
Anyone with concerns about a child or young person can contact the child protection duty team on 01546 605517.