What is it?

What is child sexual exploitation?

It’s not okay for someone to make or manipulate you into doing sexual things for the benefit or enjoyment of others.

It is a form of sexual abuse and it is against the law.

For example, someone may try and get you to do sexual things by:

  • offering you money
  • hurting or threatening to hurt you
  • humiliating or threatening to humiliate you
  • buying you presents
  • taking you out to places
  • giving you a place to stay
  • telling you that they love you

It’s not always easy to know when you are being sexually exploited, especially if it is your friend, boyfriend or girlfriend that is exploiting you. Learn how to spot the signs.

There are lots of different types of child sexual exploitation, which is why it can be hard to tell if it is happening to you, or for your parents and carers to spot that something is wrong. These are just some examples:

  • An abuser may pretend to be your friend and earn your trust before trying to get you to have sex. This is called grooming.
  • A group of young people might gang up you to get you to carry out sex acts. This might be in return for friendship or so you can join the gang.
  • An abuser may try and become your friend online – perhaps pretending to be someone your age – getting you to carry out sex acts using a web cam.
  • A new boyfriend or girlfriend might start to expect you to have sex with them in return for gifts or favours, or try to get you to have sex with their friends.
  • Abusers might try and lure you to parties with promises of free alcohol and drugs, but then expect you to have sex with people while you are there.

Read more about child sexual exploitation on the Barnardo’s and NSPCC websites.

What is ‘peer-on-peer exploitation’?

We often think of child sexual abuse and exploitation as young people being abused by adults. However it’s growing increasingly common for young people to be sexually exploited by other people in their age group (or only a little bit older). The police call this ‘peer-on-peer’ exploitation.

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