Child Sexual Exploitation and Missing Children

What is Child Sexual Exploitation?

Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) is when someone grooms and controls a child for a sexual purpose.  It can happen to boys and girls, it can happen in rural and urban areas, it can happen face to face and it can happen online. It is a form of child abuse.

The definition of CSE:

"Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse.  It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator.  The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual.  Child sexual exploitation  does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology." 
(ref. Child sexual exploitation; Definition and guidance for practitioners, local leaders and decision makers working to protect children from child sexual exploitation, DfE February 2017)

Children and young people go missing for a variety of reasons. There may have been a misunderstanding about what time they were due to be back or they may have been the victim of a serious crime. The job of the authorities is to record and investigate missing person reports in order to work to prevent children and young people from being harmed / exploited.

The Gloucestershire Safeguarding Children's Executive (GSCE) provides a multi-agency framework to ensure that all agencies in the County work together to safeguard children. This guidance has been produced by the Child Sexual Exploitation / Missing from Home and Care sub group of the GSCE. 

The Missing Children Protocol 

An estimated 36 million people are being used, bought, sold or transported for exploitation worldwide.  Modern Slavery can take many forms including the trafficking of people; forced labour, servitude and slavery.

Children (those aged under 18) are considered victims of trafficking, whether or not they have been coerced, deceived or paid to secure their compliance. They need only have been recruited, transported, received or harboured for the purpose of exploitation.

Modern Slavery:

Modern slavery encompasses slavery, human trafficking, forced and compulsory labour and domestic servitude. Traffickers and slave masters use whatever means they have at their disposal to coerce, deceive and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment. 

A large number of active organised crime groups are involved in modern slavery. But it is also committed by individual opportunistic perpetrators. 

Human trafficking:

Involves an act of recruiting, transporting, transferring, harbouring or receiving a person through a use of force, coercion or other means, for the purpose of exploiting them.

Signs of various types of slavery and exploitation are often hidden, making it hard to recognise potential victims. Victims can be any age, gender or ethnicity or nationality. Whilst by no means exhaustive, this is a list of some common signs:

  • If the young person is not in possession of their legal documents (passport, identification and bank account details) and they are being held by someone else;
  • They have old or serious untreated injuries and they are vague, reluctant or inconsistent in explaining how the injury occurred.
  • They look malnourished, unkempt, or appear withdrawn
  • They have few personal possessions and often wear the same clothes
  • They maybe withdrawn or appear frightened.
  • They appear under the control/influence of others.  Many victims will not be able to speak English
  • Fear of authorities

Modern Slavery Act 2015 Legislation

Modern Slavery:A Briefing

Trafficking Flowchart

Modern Slavery Factsheet

Modern Slavery Duty Of Notice Poster

How to report Modern Slavery

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