WHAT IS CHILD SEXUAL EXPLOITATION
CSE can happen in many ways, young people may believe they are in a relationship, be invited to parties or be given alcohol and drugs by people they believe to be friends. Often young people do not realise they are at risk of being exploited, because offenders are very clever at manipulating them and in the early stages of the grooming process young people are often given gifts and taken to exciting places.
THE VICTIM MAY BE TRICKED INTO BELIEVING THEY ARE IN A LOVING RELATIONSHIP
CSE is when a young person is coerced or forced to take part in sexual activity in return for some kind of payment, such as drugs, money, gifts or even protection and affection.
This sexual activity does not have to be in person, it could be via technology in the form of images or videos.
Young people do not give consent to being sexually exploited – it is a form of sexual abuse.
There are many reasons why young people may not tell anyone they are being sexually exploited:
they often do not recognise themselves as victims because of the grooming and manipulation they have experienced
they are often threatened with violence or physically hurt to maintain their silence
they are worried that they won’t be believed, or don’t know how to start to talk about what is happening to them
young people might feel shame or guilt or that they are somehow to blame for the abuse they have suffered
Child sexual exploitation is a hidden crime that can affect any child, any time regardless of their gender, home life, religion or ethnic background.
Offenders are not just adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual exploitation, as can other children. It is important that we all know the signs to look out for and how to report concerns, so that together we can prevent CSE.