Child Sexual Exploitation – the more you know, the more you see
Child Sexual Exploitation is Child Abuse. Any young person could become a victim, regardless of their social or ethnic background.
Victims are often coerced into sexual relationships which they confuse with love and attention. They risk damage to their physical, emotional and psychological health.
- Sexual exploitation is a form of sexual abuse in which a young person is manipulated or forced into taking part in a sexual act often in return for attention, affection, money, drugs, alcohol or accommodation.
- The child might think that their abuser is their friend or boyfriend but the abuser might physically or verbally threaten them and be violent towards them. They will control and manipulate them and try to isolate them from friends and family.
- In organised sexual exploitation young people are passed through networks where they are forced into sexual activity with a number of men. This often takes place at ‘sex parties’ and the young people may be used to recruit others into the network.
There is no stereotypical victim of exploitation, but the below warning signs are an indication that a child may be exploited:
- Regularly missing from home or school and staying out all night
- Change in behaviour – becoming aggressive and disruptive or quiet and withdrawn
- Unexplained gifts or new possessions such as clothes, jewellery, mobile phones or money that can’t be accounted for
- Increase in mobile phone use or secretive use
- A significantly older ‘boyfriend’ or ‘friend’ or lots of new friends
- Spending excessive amounts of time online or on their mobile and becoming increasingly secretive about this activity
- Sudden involvement in criminal behaviour or increased offending
- Sexual health problems
- Change in physical appearance