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Dealing with sexual exploitation

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

Sexual exploitation involves the abuser using their relationship to take advantage of children and young people, forcing them to perform sexual acts.

How would a young person recognise if they are being sexually exploited?

  • The abuser may offer gifts, money, alcohol or drugs in exchange for sex or they may intimidate the young person using violence as a way to coerce the young person to perform a sexual act.

    • The abuser may use technology and social media to persuade a young person to:

- participate in sexual conversations in text or online

- send or post sexually explicit images

- participate in sexual activities via a webcam.

  • The abuser may use these online images and conversations to blackmail the young person and may threaten to share the images of conversations with their friends and family.

  • The abuser may threaten the young person and make them feel afraid of what the repercussions may be to themselves/others/friends/family if the young person were to try and report any incidents or to seek help through the police.

How could a young person avoid being sexually exploited?

They should:

  • avoid situations where they may get drunk/take drugs with a group of adults in houses/hotel rooms they don’t know.

  • avoid meeting people from social media sites unless accompanied.

  • avoid posting or sharing sexually explicit personal images on the internet and social media.

  • avoid receiving gifts, money, alcohol, drugs from people they do not know

  • If the young person is in a situation where they feel that they ‘can’t say no’ then they should become aware that they are not in a safe situation and try to leave.

What actions could a young person take id they have been sexually exploited?

  • Tell someone what has been happening - this could be another trusted adult, a parent/guardian, a friend, a teacher in school.

  • Ring the police on 101

  • Consider talking to someone at an organisation that can give advice and help with the bullying experience such as:

- NSPCC on 0808 800 5000

- ChildLine on 0800 1111

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