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Sexual Exploitation can happen to any child, anywhere.

Types of exploitation

Online exploitation

Sexual exploitation can start and stay online.

There are people who will use the internet to groom, trawling social media and gaming sites looking for people to target and exploit.

They might hide their true age, gender and identity. They may try and meet up with the young person face to face or may encourage them to send sexual images/videos of themselves. They might offer gifts, game codes or flattering messages in return.


This is when an adult befriends and grooms a child into a close relationship. This might be as a boy/girl friend or just a friend. To start with this makes the young person feel good about themselves, they may be given alcohol, gifts and treated like an adult. But the relationship may then become abusive and the child may be forced or manipulated into sexual activity with the adults or their 'friends'. The child might be told they need to have sex to prove their 'love', or told they need to have sex to pay for the gifts, alcohol or drugs they have been given.

images or videos of themselves- sometimes offering compliments, game codes or gifts in return.


This type of exploitation can happen very quickly, without any grooming. Children who are visibly vulnerable are more likely to be targeted. Children who go missing, are out late at night or go to adult environments, might be at risk. Children can be offered accommodation, money, lifts, drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, etc, in exchange for sexual activity.

Peer Exploitation

This may happen within a group of friends. It can often happen quite publicly and images and videos are often circulated around school and their peers.

Organised exploitation

This is when networks of offenders work together, to coerce or force children to have sex with multiple adults. This can often happen through organised parties where children are invited to parties and offered drinks, drugs, and lifts for free. The children are introduced to a culture where sexual promiscuity and taking drugs are normalised and expected. Children might be encouraged to bring their friends to these parties.

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