In what ways could you be exploited?
1. Inappropriate relationships
These relationships usually involve one physically stronger, older and often wealthier perpetrator controlling a young person. Sometimes this can involve familial abuse too - when an older family member exploits their child or sibling. The relative can be forced or threatened into involving the young person in exploitation by someone else.
2. Older adult exploitation
Often referred to as the 'boyfriend' model. The adult perpetrator is usually at least five years older and befriends and grooms the young person by focusing on their vulnerabilities. The victim will initially feel they're in a positive and rewarding relationship with the perpetrator. Power and control can lead to a young person becoming isolated and dependent on the 'boyfriend'. These young people can often be coerced or forced into sex with the perpetrator's friends.
Young people are passed by perpetrators through networks, between towns and cities, where they may be forced or coerced into sexual activity with multiple people. Young people are often used to recruit other young people to participate in so-called 'sex parties'.
Trafficking sometimes involves the 'buying and selling' of young people by individuals involved in serious organised crime. Often referred to as sexual bullying, this form of child sexual exploitation can happen quickly without building a relationship or the grooming process. Incidents may be filmed on mobile phones and circulated. Incidents may occur publicly or involve multiple perpetrators.
5. Gang and group exploitation
Young people in gangs or groups may be sexually exploited as part of gang initiation or as punishment. Young people may also be encouraged to recruit peers into the gang, exposing them to similar child sexual exploitation. When this happens, it can be difficult to identify perpetrators who control the gang.
6. Online sexual exploitation
Online Sexual exploitation can include an older person:
- pretending to be a child, making friends with you through online chat rooms, social networking websites, emails, mobile telephone messaging, gaining their trust, stalking their online activities
- asking you to engage in sexual chats online or by mobile telephone
- inviting you to take and share indecent photos of themselves
- asking you to perform sexual acts recorded or shared live via webcam
- arranging to meet you in person to harm you.
(The Children's Society)