LETTER: Hidden crime

Child sexual exploitation is a hidden crime that can have lifelong effects on its vulnerable young victims.

Friday, 31st March 2017, 10:17 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:26 pm
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It can happen to any young person whatever their background, age, gender, race or sexuality. And it can take place online or in the real world. In some cases, young people are persuaded or forced into exchanging sexual activity for money, drugs, gifts, affection or status.

Sadly, many often trust their abuser and don’t understand that they’re being abused as they believe they are in a loving consensual relationship. To protect children from CSE, we need people from all walks of life to be aware of the signs, children and young people need to learn about healthy relationships, everyone needs to know how to report their concerns, and perpetrators need to be identified and prosecuted. Young people who are being sexually exploited may be involved in abusive relationships; intimidated and fearful of certain people or situations; hang out with groups of older people, or antisocial groups, or with other vulnerable peers; associate with other young people involved in sexual exploitation; get involved in gangs, gang fights, gang membership; 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; or go missing from home, care or education.

They may also show signs of sexual abuse or grooming.

Do any of the signs of sexual exploitation raise concerns for you? If so, or if you are concerned for any other reason that a young person is a victim of, or is at risk of, child sexual exploitation, you can contact the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000 or email [email protected]

Colin Peak

NSPCC’s Regional Head of

Service London & South East


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