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What is child sexual exploitation?

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) involves young people under the age of 18 being encouraged, trapped, forced or coerced into a sexual relationship
or situation.
The young person is often offered something in return for performing sexual acts, such as alcohol, cigarettes, gifts, money, drugs, affection or somewhere to stay.

Boys as well as girls can become victims of CSE.

It’s most likely to happen between young people of a similar age, and it might not always be obvious what’s going on.

There can also be a link between CSE and when someone goes missing from school or home.

Worried about a child or young person?

If you know of any child that is being sexually exploited, or if you are worried about someone who you think could be exploiting a child or young person:

  • call the dedicated child exploitation helpline on 0800 800 5000.

Or you can contact the City of London Corporation Children and Families directly:

  • Call 020 7332 3621 - Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm only
  • Call 020 8356 2710 - at all other times, including weekends and bank holidays
  • Email the Children and Families Team directly

Call 999 if you think a child is at risk of immediate harm.

Spotting the signs

There are lots of reasons why a child or young person might start acting differently, but slight or major changes in their behaviour can be a sign that they are mixed up in something dangerous, such as sexual exploitation.

It’s not always easy to spot, especially if those exploiting them are of a similar age
Remember to consider CSE if one of the following crosses your mind:

  • They’ve become very moody all of a sudden.
  • They’ve suddenly started dressing differently.
  • They are hanging out with a new group you don't recognise.
  • They’ve got some bruises and marks, maybe they are being hurt.
  • Their new friends are all much older than them.
  • They don’t spend time with their old friends anymore.
  • They have more money than usual and they’ve got lots of new things.
  • They’ve become more secretive about the things they are doing.
  • They are staying out later, sometimes all night and they’re missing school.

Safeguarding policy

City of London Corporation Safeguarding Policy (128KB)

Other organisations that can give you free advice and support


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