Child sexual exploitation
- What is Child Sexual Exploitation
- Child sexual abuse online
- Child sexual exploitation in gangs
- Where to get help and support
Child sexual exploitation is a form of child abuse. It occurs when a child or young person under the age of 18 is encouraged, trapped, forced or coerced into a sexual relationship or situation by another person. It often involves the child or young person being offered something in return for performing sexual acts, such as alcohol, cigarettes, gifts, money, drugs and affection.
The young person will think they are fully consenting to what is happening as they may believe they are voluntarily engaging in sexual activity with the person who is exploiting them. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact and may occur online.
Haringey Council’s ‘Say something if you see something’ awareness campaign encourages everyone to look for potential signs of a child being sexually exploited and report suspicions.
The potential signs of child sexual exploitation include:
- being secretive about where they are going
- going missing
- missing school
- receiving unexplained gifts
- changes in mood
- staying out late
- lack of interest in activities and hobbies.
Young people may be persuaded, or forced, to:
send or post sexually explicit images of themselves
take part in sexual activities via a webcam or smartphone
have sexual conversations by text or online.
Abusers may threaten to send images, video or copies of conversations to the young person's friends and family unless they take part in other sexual activity.
Images or videos may continue to be shared long after the sexual abuse has stopped.
Sexual exploitation is used in gangs to:
exert power and control over members
initiate young people into the gang
exchange sexual activity for status or protection
entrap rival gang members by exploiting girls and young women
inflict sexual assault as a weapon in conflict.
If you are concerned about a child, report your concerns by calling 020 8489 4592 during office hours or 020 8489 4470 at any other time or call the Police on 101
Help for adults concerned about a child:
- NSPCC: 0808 800 5000
- Help for children and young people
- Childline: 0800 1111
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