Child Sexual Exploitation is where someone is taking advantage of you (or someone you know) sexually for their own benefit. Child sexual exploitation involves others getting children or young people to do sexual favours either for themselves, or other people, and this might include being encouraged or forced into having sex, watching others have sex or being touched.
Children and young people can be sexually exploited in other ways, without anyone actually touching them; this could involve being persuaded or forced to make sexual videos of themselves or with other young people, or posting sexual images on the internet, or it might be that someone shares sexual images via the internet or mobile phone that the child or young person doesn't know about.
Sexual exploitation can happen to boys and young men as well as girls and young women. It can happen to anyone and people who exploit you can be any age, male or female.
How does it happen?
Sexual exploitation can be hard to recognise because often it feels like that you are in a good relationship with the person – or people – who abuse your trust in them. It could be that you are exploited by a friend, or group of friends, or someone you think of as a boyfriend or girlfriend or it might be a person or a new group of people you’ve only just got to know, either in person or online.
Often people who exploit you are nice to you, your friends and family; they might buy you things, including alcohol or drugs, they might listen to your problems, take you to great places, be there for you, and they might give you a place to stay when you’re having problems.
Anyone who persuades you to have sex with them or other people, or encourages you to post sexual images of yourself via text or on the internet, in return for the things that they have given you, such as drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, money, food, accommodation or affection, is sexually exploiting you, even if you don’t always feel like they are.
If what you are being asked or forced to do makes you feel uncomfortable or worried in some way and somehow feels wrong then remember it probably is.
Where can you find help?
Being in a relationship and thinking about having a sexual relationship is normal, but sexual exploitation is not normal and is a form of abuse.
If you are worried for yourself or a friend, please talk to an adult you trust. Remember: if you are in any danger or feel unsafe, get in contact with the police immediately on 999.
If you would like to talk to someone in confidence you can contact:
Childline - You can call them free on 0800 1111 and this number won’t appear on a telephone bill. Available 24 hours a day.
ISIS - An independant Leeds-based organisation working with girls and young women against sexual exploitation. Their expert help and support is confidential and free.
Tel; 07710 304308
BLAST - Supports boys and young men who have been, are being, or are at risk of being sexually exploited.
Tel; 0113 2444209
Text 07808 863662