Forced marriage and school holidays

As the school holidays approach and travel restrictions are lifted, there is a risk of children being taken abroad, and being forced to marry. Forced marriage is illegal.

We need to stay alert to Signs of children and young people being in potential danger of Forced Marriage. It is important to act quickly, without alerting family members or friends who may be part of the plans.

Find out how to get help

Support services for child sexual exploitation

Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) is a type of sexual violence in which children are sexually exploited in return for money, goods (like cigarettes, alcohol, mobiles or trainers etc.), power or status.

Those exploiting young people have power over them because of their age, status, physical strength and/or resources.

Some young people are trafficked into or around the UK for the purposes of sexual exploitation. Child sexual exploitation is child abuse.

Child sexual exploitation is a hidden crime. Young people often trust their abuser and don't understand that they're being abused. They may depend on their abuser or be too scared to tell anyone what's happening.

It can involve violent, humiliating and degrading sexual assaults, including oral and anal rape. In some cases, young people are persuaded or forced into exchanging sexual activity for money, drugs, gifts, affection or status. Child sexual exploitation doesn't always involve physical contact and can happen online.

Can a young person be a ‘child prostitute’?

No, a young person under the age of 18 can never be a prostitute. It should always be seen as sexual exploitation and they should be seen as victims, regardless of whether they feel that they have decided to exchange sex for goods, money, status or power.

Any concerns about a young person should be immediately referred to children’s social care on

Tel: 020 7364 5606

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What warning signs are there that a young person is being exploited?

The London Safeguarding Children’s Board have developed a handy mnemonic to help people to recognise warning signs of CSE - SAFEGUARD

Sexual health and behaviour concerns

Absent from school or repeatedly running away

Familial abuse and/or problems at home

Emotional and physical condition

Gangs, older groups and involvement in crime

Use of technology and sexual bullying

Alcohol and drug misuse

Receipt of unexplained money or goods

Distrust of authority figures

Support services

Helpful organisations

LBTH MASH (Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub)

 The multi-disciplinary ‘front door’ to Children’s Social Care and can be contacted if you have concerns that a child/young person is being sexually exploited.

 Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

Tel: 020 7364 5601

or 020 7364 5606

Out of hours

Tel: 020 7364 4079

Safer London

The Empower Programme provides young women with both practical and emotional advocacy support for around 6 months, following a holistic, trauma informed model of working. During this time, they work with young women to identify the areas that they would like support in, typically exploring topics such as: safety planning, healthy relationships, consent, their experiences of abuse, risks/consequences of gangs, self-esteem and goals and motivation.

Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

Tel: 020 7021 0301



Protect & Respect

Works with children age 11 to 19 who are experiencing/ at risk of child sexual exploitation. A free service that offers 1-1 support for young people & parents/ carers.Group work programmes in schools and other settings. Training/ consultations for professionals.

In Ctrl

A group work programme for children age 9 to 13 that aims to prevent online child sexual abuseAdvice and guidance to parents/carers on online safety, managing screen time and routines during COVID-19, as well as supporting children emotionally

For further information and referral forms

Tel: 020 3772 9905 


The Children’s Society’s

Runs local services, helping children and young people when they are at their most vulnerable, and have nowhere left to turn. They deliver a range of pan-London services to young women and men at risk of or who have experienced CSE and trafficking or who may be missing. They also provide advocacy & emotional wellbeing services as well as providing support for refugee & migrant young people.

Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

Tel: 0300 303 7000



London Black Women’s Project (LBWP)

Is a domestic violence organisation committed to ending all forms of violence against women and girls.

LBWP provides women-only outcomes-focused services in safe and confidential space through a number of projects to BMER women and girls aged 12+ across East London and Haringey, including those who have experienced or at risk of CSE.

Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5.30pm

Tel: 0208 472 0528


NAPAC (National Association for People Abused in Childhood)

Offers support to adult survivors of all types of childhood abuse, including physical, sexual, emotional abuse or neglect.

Tel: 0808 801 0331



1:1 support for young people exploited from London

Specialist support for young women

Help manage risk and safeguarding

Support to move away from criminal exploitation

Family support

Help build network analysis through pan London intel gathering

An out of hour’s phone number for professionals operated by St Giles Trust

 Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm

Tel: 020 8937 5765

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VAWG service directory

You can find lots of other useful services on the Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) service directory homepage.