Information for young people about sexual exploitation
Does this sound like anyone you know?
- Having an older boyfriend/girlfriend
- Staying out late or going missing for periods of time
- Being bought nice presents or given food, money, drink, cigarettes or drugs
- Chatting to people online who you don’t know
- Not going to school
- Receiving calls/texts from strangers asking to meet up
- Secretive about where you go and who you see?
- Misusing drugs or alcohol
- Accepting lifts from people you don’t know.
If this sounds like your life, or if you are worried about a friend, you could be at risk of sexual exploitation by older adults. Taking risks is part of growing up, but sometimes young people get out of their depth and need help.
What is sexual exploitation?
Sexual exploitation can involve swapping sexual favours for drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, and other presents. Or it may be having sex for money with several adults. Young people may feel they must have sex because an adult gives them something, or because they feel threatened or frightened.
Some young people may want to have sex because they think the adult is their boyfriend or girlfriend. In reality they are being used for sex and the boyfriend or girlfriend may pass them on to other people too.
How does it happen?
We know from experience that some adults target young people and draw them into abusive sexual relationships. This is how it works:
- older adults show you a lot of interest to feel special
- sometimes they ask groups of you to come back to their house or parties with other adults, which makes you feel grown up
- you are offered drugs and alcohol, and a place to chill out
- you may get presents like clothes, a mobile phone, or money to buy alcohol and cigarettes
- after the adult has gained your trust
- they will ask for sexual favours for themselves or other people, in return for alcohol, drugs, presents, money - all the things they started giving for free
- they stop being nice and can become threatening or violent.
What can you do?
If you are worried that an adult is trying to abuse you, or worried about a friend, tell someone you can trust.
If you can, talk to your parents, your carer or a close member of your family. Sometimes it is difficult to talk about personal problems like sex. Perhaps you think your parents or carer will be angry or upset, or you will get into trouble with the police.
Even so, it is better to ask for help if you are unhappy about the way you are being treated by an older person.
Is there someone else you could talk to - such as a teacher or someone from your religion or local community? Tell the trusted person about your concerns.
Child sexual exploitation is a crime. The police and social services will act to stop it happening.
To report concerns:
- Slough’s One Front Door on 01753 875362
- Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online
- If someone is in immediate danger, dial 999.