Child Sexual Exploitation – How Children are Trafficked in Plain Sight part 1
The Home Office released their long overdue paper on group based Child Sexual Exploitation in England in December 2020. Invisible Traffick welcomes this paper, and we are pleased to see that recommendations have been made to address the issue of Child Sexual Exploitation, while acknowledging that the way children who have been exploited up to this point has not been adequate, appropriate or in recognition of their trauma.
Of particular note were the comments from the External Reference Group, made up of front-line professionals, stating that prevention should be at the forefront of ongoing work into CSE-related work. Invisible Traffick is dedicated to making sure that, as much as they can, our education activities will both prevent children and young people from being exploited, and help those who have been, or are currently being, harmed through trafficking or exploitation.
Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) is defined as:
“…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.”
It’s important to note that CSE is abuse; it is not a young person “choosing” to prostitute themselves in exchange for money, alcohol or status, but rather a person in a position of power or trust using their influence over the young person. Children cannot be prostitutes, nor can they choose, or consent to, abuse. Exploitation is the taking away of choice: even if, to an outsider, it appears that the young person is consenting, by the very nature of the relationship, they cannot consent. Check out part 2 of this blog for more information.