What is sexual exploitation?
This is a type of sexual abuse where you are tricked or pressured by an adult or friends of a similar age, in to a sexual activity in return for something, this can be attention, love, food, shelter, cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, gifts or money.
It happens to boys and girls and can happen online as well. You might think that this person is your friend or boyfriend or girlfriend, but they may be threatening and manipulating you without you realising.
How does sexual exploitation happen?
Being exploited can happen slowly, over a long period of time. Someone that’s exploiting you may start to show you lots of interest and affection, making you feel really special.
You and your friends might get taken to parties and offered drugs and alcohol; they may buy you things like nice clothes, trainers and mobile phones.
Once they’ve gained your trust and affection, things will change; they will start to ask you for sexual favours for themselves or other people in return for the gifts, alcohol and drugs.
They will stop being nice and can start too threaten you and be violent towards you.
What are the warning signs of sexual exploitation?
If you’re worried that a friend or someone you know is being sexual exploited, there are signs to look out for:
- Having an older boyfriend or girlfriend
- Hanging out with new older friends
- Staying out late or going missing from home and school
- Being bought presents or given food, money, drink, cigarettes or drugs
- Being secretive about what they’re doing and who they’re with
- Spending increasing amounts of time talking secretly with new friends
- Receiving calls or texts from strangers asking to meet up
- Misusing drugs or alcohol
- Accepting lifts from people they don’t know
- A sudden change in their behaviour – becoming aggressive and disruptive, or quiet and withdrawn
If you are worried about yourself or a friend, you need to tell someone straight away. This could be a teacher or another adult you trust.
Where can I get help and advice?
Do you need immediate help or have a real emergency? If so call 999. If it is not an emergency, you can contact your local Police
If you are worried about yourself or someone you know being exploited there are some organisations that can help:
- Buckinghamshire Children’s Services have a team that are there to help you.
- First Response Team. Telephone: 01296 383 962 – Monday to Thursday, 9am to 5.30pm or Friday 9am to 5pm
- If you need an urgent response outside of these hours, contact the Emergency Duty Team (EDT) on 0800 999 7677
- Childline – You can contact Childline by phone, email, text or via a message board. To phone call 0800 1111. They have a video that shows you what happens when you contact them and lots of ideas and information about keeping safe.