Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)

Child sexual exploitation is a form of sexual abuse; it is sometimes referred to as ‘CSE’. A child who is being sexually exploited may sometimes receive things such as money, gifts or affection in exchange to perform sexual acts on someone, or for sexual acts to be performed on the child. Children are often tricked in to believing that they are in a safe and loving relationship with the person that is exploiting them. Often the children will be invited to parties, and given drugs and alcohol, and often asked to perform sexual acts on others. It’s also important to remember that CSE can happen online, and it could also happen in any community, among any social groups and can happen to girls and boys.

Child sexual exploitation is a crime!

It is a crime that is often hidden and not spoken about much, as children who are being exploited trust their abuser, and will often depend on them. The ‘abuser’ is the person that is sexually exploiting them by giving them gifts, money and affection in exchange for sexual acts. A lot of children may feel afraid to tell anyone if they are being sexually exploited because of their trust and dependency on their abuser.

Child sexual exploitation is never the victim’s fault. All children and young people under the age of 18 have a right to be safe and should be protected from harm as stated in the UNCRC (

Signs of sexual exploitation

  • If a child becomes secretive or stops going out with friends.
  • If a child is developing close or sexual relationships with someone who is older than them.
  • A child may go missing from home and when asked about this, may become defensive about their location and reason for going missing. They may return home late or stay out all night.
  • They may be receiving more messages than usual on their mobile or social media, or you may notice them receiving odd calls or messages.
  • You may notice they are in possession of new, or expensive items and they may not be able to explain how they got them.

What to do

If you feel you, or someone you know is being sexually exploited, it’s really important that you tell someone about this. Remember sexual exploitation is a crime and needs to be reported, as this is absolutely the right thing to do.

  • If you feel you are in immediate danger call the police immediately on 999.
  • You can talk to someone you trust; if you are a young person that feels you are being exploited then remember this will not be the person that is abusing you – this will be someone who wants the best for you – maybe a loyal family member, a youth worker, a teacher etc.
  • Report this online, at ,
  • Call the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000.