Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)

What is child sexual exploitation?

Child Sexual Exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse. It is when someone uses children by giving them money, gifts, food, alcohol, accommodation, power and/or status in exchange for them engaging in sexual activities. Children or young people may be tricked into believing they're in a loving, consensual relationship. They might be invited to parties and given drugs and alcohol. People who do this want young people to think they are a friend, or a boyfriend or girlfriend. It could even be someone they have spoken to online. They want to gain their trust to get power over them. They might also use bribes, threats, humiliation and even violence to get power over them. It happens to boys and girls and can be really hard to spot. The person will use clever ways to take advantage of the child and will ‘force’ them into having sex with them or somebody they know. The child may be asked to do something that makes them feel uncomfortable. It is not their fault. This is sexual exploitation and it is a crime.

CSE can also happen through the use of technology, for example being persuaded to post sexual images on the internet. CSE is never okay and if it’s happening to you or someone close to you there is help out there for you

How to get help and support if you are experiencing CSE

If you are under 18 years old, you can call Childline at any time on 0800 1111 to speak to a counsellor. Calls are free and confidential. You can also visit where they have online chat, email and message boards.

You can also talk to an adult you know and trust; this may be a teacher, a social worker, a family friend, a parent or a friend’s parent.

Other resources

There are many other organisations that could also help you, and a lot of information online. The following websites have information about issues relating to CSE, including information about handling relationships online and relationship abuse.