Child sexual exploitation is a type of sexual abuse when young people under 18 are sexually exploited for something, such as gifts and money, food, affection, housing, drugs and cigarettes.
It can happen through the use of online grooming as well as through young people being tricked into believing they are in a consensual relationship.
Child sexual exploitation can happen to any young person from any background. It happens to boys and young men as well as girls and young women.
Those exploiting the child or young person have power over them because of factors such as their age, gender, intellect, physical strength and/or resources (such as spending money on the child or providing them with food and shelter).
A common feature of child sexual exploitation is that the child or young people does not recognise the coercive nature of the relationship and does not see themselves as a victim.
Signs of child sexual exploitation
Young people who are being sexually exploited may:
- Be involved in abusive relationships, be intimidated and fearful of certain people or situations
- Hang out with groups of older people, anti-social groups or with other vulnerable peers
- Get involved in gangs
- Have older boyfriends or girlfriends
- Spend time at places of concern, such as hotels or known brothels
- Not know where they are, because they have been moved around the country
- Go missing from home, care or education
- Have new items of clothing, phones etc, given as gifts by the offenders.
If you know or suspect a child is in immediate danger, call 999 straight away.
If you would prefer to speak to someone directly please call 101 and ask to speak to the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH).
More information and support
There are a number of organisations and charities that can provide further information, advice and support about child sexual exploitation:
- Swindon Safeguarding Children Board - Brings together the main organisations which work with children and families in Swindon, with the aim of ensuring that they work together effectively to keep children safe
- Wiltshire Safeguarding Children Board - Website includes information for children and young people parents and carers about keeping children safe
- Swindon Borough Council CSE page - includes videos and other resources to help spot the signs of CSE
- www.stop-cse.org.- The National Working Group for Child Sexual Exploitation. Contains details of the National CSE Awareness Day
- Barnardos - National children's charity which provides information, advice and support about child sexual exploitation
- NSPCC - National children's charity which provides information, advice and support about child sexual exploitation
- CEOP Safety Centre - Advice for children, young people and adults regarding child sexual exploitation
- ThinkUknow - A website for families about internet safety, including interactive activities and information for all ages and parents.