What is Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)?

CSE is a form of sexual abuse where young people under 18 are sexually exploited in return for something, such as gifts, money, food, affection, housing, drugs, alcohol and cigarettes.

There are lots of types of CSE. It can happen through online grooming as well as through young people being tricked into believing they are in a consensual relationship. Often the victim doesn't see they are being coerced or see that they are a victim.

It can happen to any young person from any background; boys, young men, girls and young women.

Those exploiting the child or young person have power over their victims because of things 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).

What are some of the potential signs of CSE?

  • Being involved in abusive relationships
  • Being intimidated or fearful of certain people or situations
  • Hanging out with groups of older people, anti-social groups or with other vulnerable peers
  • Getting involved in gangs
  • Having older boyfriends or girlfriends
  • Spending time at places of concern, such as hotels or known brothels
  • Not knowing where they are, because they have been moved around the country
  • Go missing from home, care or education
  •  Having new items of clothing, phones etc, given as gifts by the offenders.

How to report CSE

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).

Useful links

We've included some links on this page to a number of organisations and charities that can provide further information


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