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Child Exploitation

The IOWSCP is proactive in working to protect children from exploitation including child sexual exploitation, child criminal exploitation, trafficking and modern slavery.

What is Child Sexual Exploitation?

Child Sexual Exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child under the age of 18 into sexual activity.

  • a – in exchange for something the victim needs or wants

and / or

  • b – for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator

Facts about Child Sexual Exploitation

  • The child may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual.
  • CSE does not always involved physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology. 
  • CSE can involve children receiving “something” such as accommodation, gifts, drugs, cigarettes, alcohol or affection as a result of them performing sexual activities or having others perform sexual activities on them. 
  • Children can be groomed to post sexual images of themselves on the internet or send these images via mobile phones. 
  • Threats, bribes, violence and humiliation can also form part of Child Sexual Exploitation as ways of coercing a child into performing sexual activities. 
  • Sexual exploitation can happen to boys and girls and can be linked to criminal exploitation.
  • ALL children may be at risk of child sexual exploitation. This includes children in strong and loving family units. 

There are indicators of Child Criminal Exploitation/County Lines and these are additional to those that are well known for Sexual Exploitation including:

  • Children who are looked after, especially those living in residential care
  • Children who have a history of physical, sexual, emotional abuse and/or neglect
  • Children who have a disability, mental health problem or sensory impairment
  • Children who are young carers
  • Children who use misuse drugs and alcohol
  • Children who go missing from home or care
  • Children involved in crime
  • Children who live in households where there is domestic abuse

What to look out for: Signs and Symptoms

There are a number of indicators which can alert you to the possibility that your child is being abused through or at risk of sexual exploitation:

  • Going missing for periods of time or regularly coming home late
  • Coming home with expensive clothes or clothes that are inappropriate, mobile phones or other gifts and possessions
  • Considerable change in performance at school or missing school
  • Mood swings or changes in emotional wellbeing
  • Having older boyfriends/girlfriends
  • Suffering from sexually transmitted infections
  • Drug and alcohol misuse
  • Inappropriate sexualised behaviour

What is Child Criminal Exploitation?

"Child Criminal Exploitation occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, control, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into any criminal activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial or other advantage of the perpetrator or facilitator and/or (c) through violence or the threat of violence. The victim may have been criminally exploited even if the activity appears consensual. Child Criminal Exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology" HM Government Serious Violence Strategy, April 2018

There are indicators of County Lines / child criminal exploitation and these are additional to those that are well known for Sexual Exploitation including:

  • Increased missing episodes.
  • Unexplained amounts of money, new high cost items and multiple mobile phones.
  • Increased social media and phone/text use, almost always secretly.
  • Older males in particular seen to be hanging around and driving.
  • Having injuries that are unexplained and unwilling to be looked at.
  • Increase in aggression, violence and fighting.
  • Carrying weapons – knives, baseball bats, hammers, acid.
  • Travel receipts that are unexplained.
  • Significant missing from education and disengaging from previous positive peer groups.
  • Parent concerns and significant changes in behaviour that affect emotional wellbeing.

Worried About A Child?


In an emergency please call the Police on 999

If you are worried a child is, or at risk of, suffering, neglect or abuse please contact the Children's Reception Team on 0300 300 0117 (available 24 hours a day).

You do not need to know everything about the child before contacting the Children's Reception Team.
If you are concerned, it is important that you talk to someone about this.

NSPCC Phone Number: 0808 800 5000
A leading children's charity fighting to end child abuse in the UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man. They help children who have been abused to rebuild their lives, protect those at risk, and find the best ways of preventing abuse from ever happening.