1. What is child exploitation?
Child Exploitation is when someone asks or uses you to do something you do not want to do or feel uncomfortable with. As far as child exploitation is concerned this tends to be something of a sexual nature or committing a criminal offence…
2. The 'Grooming' process!
Those who exploit children and young people use many different ways to develop their control of another person. Often exploiters will look for vulnerabilities in their victims such as age or isolation and using the internet is a common way of sexually grooming young people. There is no length of time this process takes in abusers gaining control over another person. At times exploiters will work hard to trick or use ways to gain the trust of their victims. However in other circumstances victims are controlled very quickly when threats of violence or intimidation may be used.
Exploitation process persuading methods include:
Offering free gifts including, money, clothes, mobile phones, cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, bicycles and food.
- The exploiter/perpetrator claims that the relationship they have is genuine or real and/or loving. This may be just one way of gaining trust as well as deterring others who maybe suspicious.
3. How much of a problem is online grooming?
Last year (2016) Barnardo’s carried out a survey with 5 of their exploitation services across the UK. This survey revealed that in the six months previous 702 children had been supported because of exploitation with 297 (42%) of these children being groomed online.
Two thirds of these young people (186) who were groomed online met the person who had been grooming them and were then sexually exploited. The survey also showed that 146 young people had been sexually exploited by more than one person. Figures show the majority of these children were aged between 14 and 17 years with some as young as 10 years old.
4. There is no stereotypical victim of exploitation!
Exploitation can happen to anyone. It doesn’t matter what your background is. Exploiters will target anyone they see vulnerable regardless of their sexuality, age, or whether they are a boy or girl. Younger children are equally at risk as older young people of being exploited sexually or criminally.
There are some factors that make you more vulnerable to exploitation especially if you’re mixing with people you don’t know or trust. If you have never been in trouble with the police some exploiters see this as an advantage as you may not stand out to the police if you were being asked to take part in crime. If you’re not in the presence of people who care for you, for example those absent or missing from home or online and away from parents.
5. It's About Control
The methods exploiters use to keep control of those they are abusing are very unpleasant. The fact they are unpleasant are the reason why some children and young people continue to be exploited even though they want to break free of their abusers.
Some of the ways exploiters keep control and continue abusing their victims include:
- Pretending to be friends but with the intention of using them for another purpose that is likely to expose them to risk of harm.