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Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)

Overview

Sexual exploitation is child abuse and children and young people who become involved face risks to their physical, emotional and psychological health and well being. Any young person could become a victim of child sexual exploitation (CSE). 

The crime affects both girls and boys, from any background and of any ethnicity. It is the organised and deliberate exploitation of a child purely for the sexual gratification of adults.

There are 3 main types of CSE.

Inappropriate relationships

This usually involves one perpetrator who has inappropriate power or control over a young person. There is often a significant age gap and the victim may believe they are in a loving relationship.

‘Boyfriend’ model

The perpetrator befriends and grooms the young person into a ‘relationship’ and then convinces or forces them to have sex with friends or associates. This is sometimes associated with gang activity. Peer exploitation is where young people are forced or coerced into sexual activity by peers and associates. Sometimes this can be associated with gang activity, but not always.

Organised sexual exploitation

Young people are passed through networks, possibly over geographical distances, where they are forced into sexual activity with multiple men. This often occurs at ‘sex parties’ and the young people may be used to recruit others into the network. Some of this activity is described as serious organised crime and can involve the organised ‘buying and selling’ of young people by perpetrators.

Page last updated: 02 May 2019
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