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CSE Day 2019 – What is Exploitation and Does it Only Affect Children?

Today is National CSE (Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day). The five key themes for this year’s day are:

1. Exploitation is about more than just CSE, think about criminal exploitation, county lines,
trafficking and modern slavery.
2. Families can be safeguarding partners.
3. The time to build relationships with children and families is crucial.
4. Exploitation and its impact doesn’t stop because you turn 18.
5. Communities can tackle exploitation.

All five are key for us to grasp as parents, friends, professionals, and community members so we can all play our part to stop CSE. Over to one of our SAFE project workers to explain themes 1 and 4…

Exploitation is about more than just CSE

Exploitation means an imbalance of power used to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person into sexual or criminal activity in exchange for something the victim needs or wants e.g. gifts or belonging.

When we think of exploitation our mind wanders to child sexual exploitation or ‘CSE’. Whilst this is still important to recognise, we must realise that exploitation is more than just CSE. We must consider criminal exploitation (county lines) in which young people are exploited to sell drugs, human trafficking and modern slavery. Look beneath the signs that the child is displaying

Exploitation doesn’t take place in isolation, sometimes a young person is forced into sexual activity over a drug debt or people could be trafficked around the UK, and beyond, for modern day slavery.

We need to ensure that we are approachable and consistent for the young people we work with – they will not want to talk to you if they don’t think you will be there for them. Offer a confidential and private space and believe everything they tell you.

CSE Awareness Day

Exploitation and its impact doesn’t stop because you turn 18

Whilst we refer to ‘child’ sexual exploitation throughout this blog post we recognise that exploitation does not stop when adulthood is reached at 18, in fact quite the opposite.

Reports have shown that reaching 18 can make a person more vulnerable to abuse and exploitation, often services will withdraw and there is less help and support out there. For many people it is a frustrating time as they may have had extensive and intensive support throughout childhood only to find out that this will not continue beyond their 18th birthday. We refer to this as the cliff edge of support – one day it’s there and the next it’s all gone.

It is vitally important to improve transition services and to offer the young people we work with alternative forms of support. That’s why, on Safe, we work with young people up to the age of 25. We know that vulnerabilities don’t fix themselves over night.

To find out more information about your local Safe project please call 01903 522966.

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