Child Sexual Exploitation

Child sexual exploitation encompasses a range of abusive behaviours perpetrated against children for sexual gratification or financial gain. It can take various forms including but not limited to online grooming, trafficking, sexual abuse and the production or distribution of child sexual abuse material (CSAM)

What are some of the warning signs that a child might be at risk of CSE?

Sudden behavioural changes, mood swings, or withdrawal.

Secretive behaviour, especially regarding certain individuals.

Receiving unexplained gifts, money, or incentives.

Withdrawal from family, friends, or social activities.

Unexplained physical injuries, especially in sensitive areas.

Engaging in sexualized language or behaviour beyond their age.

Excessive or secretive use of technology, especially late at night.

Displaying fear, anxiety, or distress around certain individuals.


    How can parents and caregivers initiate conversations with their children about staying safe from sexual exploitation?

    Parents and caregivers can initiate conversations by creating a safe and open environment, using age-appropriate language, discussing boundaries and teaching children about online safety and recognizing grooming tactics whilst also addressing any concerns they may have.  

    • Staff Training: Training school staff, including teachers, counsellors, and administrators, to recognize signs of exploitation and respond appropriately can help identify and support at-risk students.
    • Clear Policies: Establishing clear policies and procedures for reporting suspicions of abuse or exploitation, as well as guidelines for appropriate staff-student interactions, creates a safe and accountable environment.

    Communities can raise awareness about child sexual exploitation and promote prevention efforts through various means. This includes organizing educational workshops, seminars and awareness campaigns aimed at parents, caregivers, educators and community members to educate them about the signs of exploitation and how to respond effectively. Collaboration with local law enforcement agencies, child protection organizations and advocacy groups can help amplify awareness efforts and provide resources and support for survivors. Additionally fostering open dialogue and creating safe spaces for discussions about sexual exploitation can help reduce stigma and encourage reporting of suspected case, ultimately leading to stronger prevention and intervention efforts within the community.

    Technology contributes to the vulnerability  of children to sexual exploitation in various ways. The widespread use of the internet and social media platforms provides perpetrators with easy access to potential victims, enabling them to groom and manipulate children from afar. Perpetrators often exploit children’s naivety and curiosity, using online spaces to establish relationships and gain their trust before coercing them into engaging in sexual activities or sharing explicit material.

    • Report child sexual exploitation by calling 999 if the child is at immediate risk or call 101 if you think a crime has been committed
    • call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online
    • Or call a Helpline on 0808 800 5000

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