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Child sexual exploitation involves situations, contexts or relationships in which a person under 18 is given something, such as food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, affection, gifts or money in return for performing sexual activities or having sexual activities performed on them. It can also involve violence, coercion and intimidation, with threats of physical harm or humiliation.
In all cases of child sexual exploitation (CSE), the person exploiting the child or young person is able to create the impression of authority over them in some form. This could be because of their age, gender, intellect, physical strength or economic situation.
Sexual exploitation of children can start through the use of technology, without them immediately realising. For example, they might be persuaded to post images on the internet or via mobile phone without immediate payment or personal gain.
Violence, coercion and intimidation are common, with a particular vulnerability of the child or young person being used against them. This can make the young person feel as though they have no choice but to continue the relationship.
Signs of a child or young person being in an exploitative relationship can vary. Some examples are:
If you suspect a person of carrying out child sexual exploitation, or think someone you know has been a victim, or may be soon, visit our How to report possible child abuse page or call our non-emergency number, 101. If you have a hearing or speech impairment, use our textphone service on 18001 101.
If someone is in immediate danger of harm, please call 999 now. If you have a hearing or speech impairment, use our textphone service 18000 or text us on 999 if you’ve pre-registered with the emergencySMS service.
We're committed to tackling this issue and highlighting that it's everyone’s responsibility to safeguard and protect children.
We'll take all reports of suspicious activity with children seriously and encourage reports from all parts of the community.
With partner agencies, we've launched Operation Net Safe, a Wales-wide campaign that targets people who are creating, viewing and sharing sexually explicit images of young people under 18 online.
A national charity helping children in poverty, supporting young carers and helping families looking to foster or adopt.
National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC)
A national children's charity, preventing abuse and helping those affected to recover.
Parents Against Child Exploitation (PACE)
The leading national charity working with parents and carers of sexually exploited children.
A UK organisation campaigning against child trafficking and exploitation.
A service that allows you to pass on information about crime 100% anonymously.
A national campaign to tackle violence against women and girls.