What is Child Sexual Exploitation?
Child sexual exploitation is a type of child sexual abuse which can happen to any child.
It happens when someone uses grooming behaviours (building a relationship based on trust or connection) alongside the promise of money, gifts, affection, protection, or status in exchange for sexual activity with a child or young person. This can happen in organised groups, in personal relationships, and with known perpetrators.
Anyone can be a perpetrator of child sexual exploitation regardless of their age, gender, class, or ethnicity. In some cases, perpetrators will use positions of trust to access or normalise sexual activity with vulnerable children and young people.
CSE can happen both on and offline. It is often combined with other forms of abuse including threats, physical violence, and psychological manipulation. It may have occurred even if the sexual activity appears consensual.
In many cases children and young people may respect, trust, or have a bond with their abuser. This can make detection and disclosures of abuse difficult as children may not understand or recognise the exploitation within their relationship.