Child sexual exploitation

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vawgWhat is 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.

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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 020 7364 5606.

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

If you are in immediate risk call 999 or 112 (from a mobile) for the Police.

 Please see our directory of support services, who are here help victims or survivors of abuse.

Get help