Child exploitation (CE) happens when a child or young person is encouraged – or forced – to take part in sexual or criminal activity, including drug dealing or sending of inappropriate images.
It might be in exchange for presents, money, alcohol or simply emotional attention.
People who commit child exploitation often ‘groom’ their victims to gain their trust. Later, when the behaviour of the abuser starts to change, many children and young people are too frightened to come forward, or don't realise they are being abused. They may suffer in silence for years without anyone to talk to about what they’re going through.
It happens to children and young people from all backgrounds and communities, right across the UK, out of sight and behind closed doors. It happens to both boys and girls, online or offline.
Child exploitation is never the young person’s fault, even when they 'agree' to the sexual or criminal activity.
If you are being exploited or abused please tell someone. Abuse and exploitation is not your fault, and no-one will judge you.
Tell a trusted adult – this could be someone in school or a member of your family
Talk to trained counsellors on the 24 hour helplines run by Childline on 0800 11 11 and the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000.
If you are in immediate danger, call the police on 999.
Do you really know who you are talking to online? Some people who contact you genuinely just want to chat or be friends. The problem is that some people, males and females, use the internet to target young people. They want to trick, pressure or force a young person in to something. They are very happy to lie about who they are and what they want.
If someone has made you feel weird or uncomfortable online you should report it. It is not your fault and no-one will judge you.
You can report any worries here, or just have a look at the site for more information about keeping yourself safe www.thinkuknow.co.uk