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Child exploitation

Child exploitation is when someone uses a child/young person for financial gain, sexual gratification, labour or personal advantage. Exploitation can take a number of forms and children and young people may be subject to several types of exploitation at the same time such as criminal exploitation (Including County Lines) and sexual exploitation.

People often associate Child Exploitation in terms of serious organised crime however this type of abuse can take place in relationships with people known to the child/ young person. In this circumstance the child/young person may be groomed and offered something they want or need, such as money, accommodation, attention, gifts, cigarettes, drugs or alcohol in exchange for sex or involvement in criminal activity.  

Child sexual exploitation can happen to any child, regardless of gender, race, religion or class.

What to do 

If you have concerns that a child is being sexually exploited, you should report your concerns to police. If a child is in immediate danger, call 999.

If you are concerned that a child is at risk of being sexually exploited, please contact Herefordshire Council's

  •  Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) on 01432 260800

What to do if you are concerned about a friend?

If you're concerned a friend or another child or young person may be putting themselves at risk of CSE then it's really important to let someone know. You can either talk to a teacher at school or contact ChildLine.

  • Stop It Now! is a confidential helpline for anyone with concerns about child sexual abuse.

Help and support is available

It's important to know that help, advice and someone to talk to are available. The following websites provide some helpful information.

Where to get help and advice if you have concerns about a child  

  • West Mercia Rape & Sexual Abuse Support Centre offer free, confidential and non-judgemental support for those who've experienced rape, assault, incest, sexual abuse, sexual harassment or any form of sexual attack, whether physical, verbal or emotional.
  • West Mercia Police have some some useful information about child sexual exploitation.
  • Visit NHS Choices for information on how to spot child sexual exploitation. 
  • The Brook Clinic has some useful information on spotting the signs of CSE. 

Help and support for children and young people

  • PACE is the leading national charity working with parents and carers of sexually exploited children.
  • The NSPCC has a range of information on child sexual exploitation, including information about trafficking and young people in gangs.
  • Barnardo’s also provides a range of information on CSE.
  • The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) is the UK's law enforcement agency dedicated to tackling sexual exploitation of children and also provides education and awareness resources aimed at children and young people on the Thinkuknow website.

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