GET IN TOUCH : 01484 821 500

March 18 is National Child Exploitation (CE) Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and wider exploitation. The aim of the day is to encourage everyone to think, spot and speak out against abuse and adopt a zero tolerance attitude towards those adults who develop inappropriate relationships with children.

CSE is a form of sexual abuse involving the manipulation and/or coercion of young people under the age of 18 into sexual activity in the form of giving affection, gifts, alcohol and money. Experiencing sexual abuse in childhood can have devastating long-term consequences, as survivors are three times more likely to develop psychological disorders into adulthood.

In 2021, NSPCC received on average 26 calls per day from people with concerns that a child is being or has been sexually exploited. CSE has many guises: it can arise from the trafficking of young people but can also take place within the family network among those close to the young person.

There is also a strong link between missing young people and CSE. Notably, Barnardo’s found that 50% of sexually exploited young people went missing on a regular basis, a concerning figure when considering the fact that 140,000 young people go missing in the United Kingdom each year.

CSE therefore continues to be endemic. This is particularly concerning with the backdrop of Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, which has in turn led to the mass exodus of millions of Ukrainian people, half of which are reported to be children.

It is therefore anticipated that some of those fleeing war in the Ukraine are likely to be vulnerable to exploitation.We need to be alert to what child exploitation is and how to identify concerns and report the same. Useful resources that can assist with identifying CSE can be found on the NSPCC and Stop CE websites.