Advice for young people

Sexual exploitation can be hard to recognise because you often believe you’re in a good relationship with the person who wants to abuse you.

It could be a friend, or group of friends. It could be:

  • someone you think of as a boyfriend or girlfriend
  • a person or a new group of people you’ve only just got to know
  • someone you’ve talked to online.

Whoever it is, they could use clever ways to take advantage of your relationship – and that means you can be harmed almost before you know what’s going on.

For example someone might give you money, drugs, alcohol, gifts or somewhere to stay and then force you to do one or more of these things in return

  • have sex with them
  • do something sexual to them
  • be touched inappropriately, in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable
  • look at sexual images – including films or pictures
  • watch them do something sexual, including having sex or touching themselves sexually

That’s why it’s so important to look out for the warning signs that someone’s behaviour towards you may not be all it seems.

If you are worried about a situation that you or a friend is in, talk to an adult that you trust as soon as you can. People who can help you include teachers, parents, carers and social workers. 

If you, or a friend, are in immediate danger or want urgent help, call 999 or contact your local police.

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