Child Sexual Exploitation is defined by the NSPCC as a form of sexual abuse in which children are sexually exploited for money, power or status. Warning signs for sexual exploitation can be hard to identify and can be easily be mistaken for ‘normal’ teenage behaviour. However, the signs to look out for include:
- Young people involved in abusive relationships, intimidated and fearful of certain people or situations
- Young people hanging out with older people or anti-social groups or with other vulnerable peers, including others involved with CSE
- Young people getting involved in gangs, gang fights and gang membership;
- Having older boy or girlfriends
- Having new things like clothes or mobile phones which they can’t or won’t explain
- Having access to drugs or alcohol
- Spending time at places of concern such as hotels or known brothels
- Young people who don’t know where they are because they have been moved around the country
- Young people that go missing from home, care or education
Crimestoppers is making a stance to demonstrate that child exploitation will not be tolerated. The independent charity is working to educate communities about the threat of CSE by highlighting the signs and explaining how the public can report if they think it’s happening to someone they know.
As Crimestoppers is an independent anonymous charity, they can provide a unique service by allowing those who are perhaps closer to the victims or offenders to report what they know, without any fear of being identified.
When you give information to Crimestoppers they will never asked you your name, no personal information is taken, calls are not recorded. They cannot trace your call or IP addresses of your computer or mobile device. You do not have to go to court or give a statement to the police. Crimestoppers are a safe alternative for those who do not wish to go to the Police. As such, they provide the police and other law enforcement with information which they might otherwise not have had access to.
The Crimestoppers Fearless brand also helps to engage young people through the use of the fearless.org website. Often young people don’t recognise the signs of being in a coercive relationship. The Fearless campaign aims to help young people to identify the signs of potential exploitation, and give them a means to report what is happening.
Suffolk Police are taking steps to raise awareness of CSE, and Crimestoppers can provide the strong call to action for those who are fearful of reporting it to the relevant authorities. In the case of young people, if they feel uncomfortable about discussing these issues with a teacher, parent or other adult, Fearless provides them with another option.
Crimestoppers is working with Suffolk Police to target parents, teachers, youth workers and young people themselves, to raise awareness across the Suffolk of the signs of CSE. It will raise public awareness and understanding of the signs to look out for. Leaflets and other marketing materials will be distributed across Suffolk to support this campaign.
Here are some Crimestoppers CSE flyers which you can download to display and distribute.
If you are concerned that a young person may be subject to CSE, please contact the police on 101 (or 999 in an emergency) or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. The NSPCC also run a helpline on 0800 800 5000.