Each year in England thousands of children and young people are raped or sexually abused. This includes children who have been abducted and trafficked, or beaten, threatened or bribed into having sex.
Media coverage of police investigations into the crimes of Jimmy Savile and other prominent figures have brought child sexual abuse and exploitation to public attention.
But while police tackle the problem, child sexual exploitation continues to happen every day. It’s important to understand what child sexual exploitation is and to be aware of warning signs that may indicate a child you know is being exploited.
What is child sexual exploitation?
Before explaining child sexual exploitation, it is helpful to understand what is meant by the age of consent (the age at which it is legal to have sex). This is 16 for everyone in the UK. Under the age of 16, any sort of sexual touching is illegal.
It is illegal to take, show or distribute indecent pho