Child sexual exploitation (CSE)
What is child sexual exploitation?
Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a type of sexual abuse. When a child or young person is exploited, they are given things (such as gifts, drugs, money, status, and affection) in exchange for performing sexual activities. Children and young people are tricked into believing that they are in a loving and consensual relationship. This is called grooming. They may trust their abuser and not understand that they're being abused.
Children and young people can be trafficked into or within the UK to be sexually exploited. This means that they can be moved around the country and abused by being forced to take part in sexual activities, often with more than one person. Young people in gangs an also be sexually exploited.
CSE can happen in person or online. An abuser will gain a child's trust or control them through violence or blackmail before moving onto sexually abusing them. This can happen in a short period of time.
Are you or someone you know at risk?
You can call Crimestoppers anonymously on:
0800 555 111
or visit their website to report a crime.
For parents and carers
Finding out your child has been sexually exploited can be frightening and distressing. But there's help for you and your family.
National Crime Agency has a dedicated team to keep children safe from sexual abuse and grooming online called Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command (CEOP).
If you are worried that your child or someone you know may be at risk of sexual abuse or grooming online, report it to CEOP and find out more about CEOP here: https://www.ceop.police.uk/safety-centre/
Barnardo's can support parents through their services across the UK.
For children and young people
NSPCC run therapeutic services for children who have experienced, or are at risk of, sexual exploitation and abuse.
Find out more about all NSPCC services from this link our services for children, including how to get in touch with ones in your area
Barnardo’s Wud U? app shows children how to make safe decisions.
Children and young people can contact:
- Fearless to report crime anonymously
- Gangsline for free advice and support from ex-gang members
- Victim Support if they've experienced crime.
How Childline can help
We understand how difficult it is for children to talk about sexual exploitation and abuse. Whether it's happening now or happened in the past, Childline can be contacted 24/7. Calls to 0800 1111 are free and confidential. Children can also contact Childline online..
Further advice and guidance:
Thinkuknow: Thinkuknow is the education programme from NCA-CEOP, a UK organisation which protects children both online and offline https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/
The Children’s Society: https://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/what-we-do/our-work/preventing-child-sexual-exploitation