General Article We have to learn more about the victims of child exploitation

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Mistakes were made, warning signs ignored and a general ignorance of and, in some cases, indifference to, child sexual exploitation meant that the grooming of young girls for sex had become ‘widespread’ and ‘organised’ in places such as Oxford and Rochdale, a home affairs committee report has found.

Child sexual exploitation has emerged in public discourse as a new category of ‘crime’. A series of high-profile cases in areas such as Rochdale and Oxford have gained the public’s attention. The term child sexual exploitation fits well into public discourse and we bring to this discussion existing ideas about childhood innocence, monstrous paedophiles and incompetent professionals that can be used. This is similar to the hunt for paedophiles within Operation Yewtree.

In fact, this particular style of story can be traced to the Victorian media when William Thomas Stead exposed stories of young women being plied with drink and drug

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