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How to spot child sexual exploitation

Each year in England thousands of children and young people are raped or sexually abused. This includes children who have been abducted and trafficked, or beaten, threatened or bribed into having sex. Media coverage of police investigations into the crimes of Jimmy Savile and other prominent figures have brought child sexual abuse and exploitation to public attention. But while police tackle the problem, child sexual exploitation continues to happen every day. It's important to understand what child sexual exploitation is and to be aware of warning signs that may indicate that a child you know is being exploited. Child sexual exploitation is when people use the power they have over young people to sexually abuse them. Their power may result from a difference in age, gender, intellect, strength, money or other resources. People often think of child sexual exploitation in terms of serious organised crime, but it also covers abuse within relationships and may involve informal exchanges of sex for something a child wants or needs, such as accommodation, gifts, cigarettes or attention. Some children are ‘groomed’ through ‘boyfriends’ who then force the child or young person into having sex with friends or associates.