Child sexual exploitation is when children and young people receive something (such as food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, affection, gifts, or money) as a result of performing, and/or others performing on them, sexual activities. Child sexual exploitation can occur through the use of the internet or on mobile phones. In all cases, those exploiting the child or young person have power over them because of their age, gender, intellect, physical strength and/or resources. For victims, the pain of their ordeal and fear that they will not be believed means they are too often scared to come forward.
Often, the victims of sexual exploitation are not aware that they are being exploited. Sometimes, a victim may think they won't be believed - especially if the abuser is the partner of their mum or dad, a relative or close family friend - and so they may be reluctant to ask for help. However, there are a number of tell-tale signs that a child or young person may be being groomed. These include:
0808 800 5000, the NSPCC 24 Hour Child Protection Helpline, is a useful helpline.