Child Sexual Exploitation

What is Sexual Exploitation?

Sexual exploitation is a form of abuse that affects thousands of young people every year in the UK.

It can be physical, where the young person is encouraged or forced in to performing sexual activities such as touching, oral sex and penetration, or non-physical where they are asked to send pictures or make videos either by themselves or with other young people.

The child may not know they are being abused and exploited. They might think they are in good relationship with the person, or people. It might seem normal for young people to send explicit pictures and videos to boyfriends or girlfriends, however, the possession and distribution of any explicit material of under 16’s is illegal.

Many victims of exploitation have been groomed by an adult who will befriend them and make them feel special to gain their trust before sexually exploiting them.


Are you worried about your child or teenager?

  • Do they stay out overnight?

  • Have they been missing from home?

  • Do they skip school?

  • Have they come home with money, clothes, jewellery or a mobile phone they can’t account for?

  • Do they have an older boyfriend or girlfriend you are concerned about?

  • Are you worried they are using drugs or alcohol?

  • Have they lost contact with family and friends of their own age?

  • Do they lack self-esteem?

  • Are they secretive about where they go and who they see?

  • Do they chat to people online they have never met?

  • Are you worried about unsafe sexual behaviour?

If this sounds familiar, your child could be at risk of sexual exploitation. Taking risks is part of growing up, but sometimes children get out of their depth.

If you are worried about a child call our call our Children’s Services Access and Referral Hub on 0300 300 8585.

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