Am I being exploited? What is Child Sexual Exploitation?

There had been a lot of talk in the media about child sexual exploitation, so we thought it might be nice to have a brief discussion of things to look out for. For the majority of young people you will be with partners who are genuine and just like you; looking for a loving and supportive relationship. But what about those who are in abusive and coercive (relating to or using force or threats) relationships?

Exploitation is surprisingly common in the world and occurs in a wide array of types as well as is committed by a large range of people. The times when it is hardest to deal with exploitation is when a friend is committing it or relative who is taking advantage of you. It’s pretty hard to know what to do and how to live with it. Here are some ways to explore exploitation and to look at ways of resolving the issue and coping with the experience.

Ok so what is Child Sexual Exploitation? Sexual exploitation basically means that somebody may be tricking you to have sexual contact with them or other people. This could include doing sexual things return for money, drugs, somewhere to stay, gifts or favours. Its can be hard to recognise because other you believe you are in a good relationship with a person people who are abusing you.

  1. Targeting – young person or a group of young people in places such as schools, parks or by creating false profiles on the internet. They will show an interest in you and perhaps offer you something, for example, a cigarette, a drink or someone to talk to for support.
  1. Relationship Building – The groomer will want to keep contact with you and may give you a mobile phone. They may compliment you on your looks and maturity; do favours for you, such as giving you a lift; do fun things with you. You may begin to spend less time with your friends and family.
  1. Fake Loving Relationship – friendship you may be introduced to sex through, for example, porn or watching sexual acts. You may think everything is fine and that you are in control, but the groomer is slowly gaining more control.
  1. Control and reinforcement – This is when you and the groomer do things that can be dangerous and/or against the law like drinking, taking/selling drugs or criminal activity. You may be forced to do sexual favours in return for not being hurt or for something you need. This may include violence or threats of violence.
  1. Sexual Exploitation / Abusive Relationships – This is when you may be forced into having sex with others for something you need or want, by either force or persuasion. Groomers can persuade you to do sexual things like being filmed performing sexual acts by using emotional blackmail and making it sound normal.

Who is affected?

This type of abuse could happen to any young person from any background. It happens to boys and young men as well as girls and young women.

The victims of abuse are not at fault.  Abusers are very clever in the way they manipulate and take advantage of the young  people they abuse.

Both boys and girls can be victims of sexual assault and rape, so do what you can to keep yourself safe:

  • Tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back.
  • Make sure your phone is charged and you have credit to use it.
  • Make sure you have enough money to get home.
  • Only use a licensed taxi firm and if you’re in a taxi alone let someone know the driver’s badge number.
  • Look after your drink. Drugs are used to spike drinks and can be hard to spot.
  • Avoid drinking too much alcohol.
  • Trust your gut feeling. If you think something is wrong, tell someone you trust. If they won’t listen tell someone else.
  • Speak out.
  • Don’t do anything you are not comfortable with.
  • Don’t pressure someone else into having sex.
  • It’s OK to say no; it’s your choice.
  • Whatever anyone else says it’s not your fault. You don’t deserve it.
  • You can stop at any time, even when you think things have gone too far

Can you recognise the signs?

Child sexual exploitation is a major child protection issue across the UK. Hidden from view and going unnoticed, vulnerable young girls and boys are groomed and then abused, leaving them traumatised and scarred for life.

If you think that a child is in immediate danger please dial 999. If you are a child or young person who needs help, please call Childline on 0800 11 11.

Alternatively, please call 0808 800 5000 to discuss your concerns with the NSPCC 24 Hour Child Protection Helpline.


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