What is child sexual exploitation?
Child Sexual Exploitation is a term used to describe the situation where a child or young person is befriended, given gifts, money, drugs or affection in exchange for performing sexual acts.
The most recent scandals in England and Wales have involved young girls being exploited by male gangs. The girls are often groomed and tricked into believing that they are in a consensual relationship. Young girls in the care system are often targeted as they are seen as vulnerable and often do not have stable parental figures who could intervene. CSE can also involve violence and threats to get the young person to comply and sadly we are seeing cases where children and young people and even adults are being trafficked for this reason. Males can also be victims of CSE.
What are the signs that someone is being exploited?
There are various signs of child sexual exploitation including:
- Truanting or missing school
- Mood swings or depression
- Going missing from home for long periods or coming home late
- Appearing with unexplained gifts or money
- Sexual health problems
- Displaying overly or suddenly sexualised behaviour
- Being secretive about their social life and hiding their use of social media
I suspect that a teenager I know is being exploited, what can I do?
If you suspect that any child, young person or vulnerable adult is being exploited for sex, you should take action to report this. The NSPCC recommends that you should not confront the suspected abuser as this could put the child or young person in danger. If you are not their parent or family member you should alert someone close to them. You can report your concerns to your local authority's children’s services. If you know for certain that a child is being exploited or at risk of exploitation this should be reported immediately to the police.
Can I claim compensation if I have been the victim of child sexual exploitation?
It may be possible to claim compensation for child sexual exploitation, depending on the circumstances. If you were under the care of the local authority or resident in a children’s home at the time and the staff and social workers failed to protect you from being exploited, you may be able to claim against the local authority. These claims can be complicated and it is important that you choose a specialist solicitor who knows what evidence is required and how to put the best case forward.
Our institutional sexual exploitation compensation calculator will give you an idea of what compensation you could be entitled to.
What is human trafficking?
Human trafficking involved the “recruitment or movement of people for exploitation by the use of threat, force or fraud or the abuse of vulnerability”. It can cross international boundaries. Men, women and children can all be the victims of trafficking for sex. Individuals who have been trafficked are likely to experience many social and health risks including:
- Physical injuries
- Poor physical health
- Mental health issues and depression
- Sexual health issues
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Housing and other social issues