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Children & young people

Child Sexual Exploitation



What is child sexual exploitation?

Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs when an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity in exchange for something.

What can it be in exchange for? 

Almost anything! Although It is often something the victim needs or wants, and/or for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator.  Cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, clothes, presents  money, or simply a place to chill are also common. 

Is it still exploitation even if the activity appears to be consensual?

Yes, it can still be exploitation. Many 17 & 18 year olds believe they can’t be victims as they are legally able to consent. This is not true.

Does it have to involve physical contact?

No, it can also occur through the use of technology.

But they're my boyfriend/girlfriend/friend?

It can be difficult to accept your relationship is not healthy. It is common for perpetrators to show love and affection to their victims.  However, this can change and involve them becoming threatening, violent, behaving sexually towards you or expecting you to have sex with them or perform sexual acts on them or others.