In an emergency always call 999

Sexual Exploitation: What You Need to Know

A young girl in a dark room

There are some people who may seek to draw you into sexual relationships. They might be nice to you initially by showing lots of affection, by inviting you to parties and buying you alcohol, drugs, clothes, mobile phones or other gifts.

This might start of casual and friendly, but it might slowly turn more and more towards pressuring you into performing sexual acts.

You might have also shared a picture online that you really wish you hadn't, and now someone is blackmailing you to post more, or to perform sexual acts in photos or videos.

No-one should pressure you to have sex.

This includes getting you to touch yourself in front of others or in front of a webcam, or having someone touch themself in front of you. It also includes making you look at pornographic photos or films.

The people who do this aim to draw young people like you into swapping or selling sex.

They are not really your friends.

They might make you feel guilty or ashamed for what you have done, to make you keep quiet.

You need to know that there is help available.

Spot the warning signs

These could be some of the signs that show you could be at risk:

  • Being friends with older adults
  • Having an older boyfriend or girlfriend
  • Not hanging around with friends your own age or less often
  • Tried and use drugs and alcohol
  • Chatting to people online who you have never met
  • Going missing for hours or overnight
  • Having strained relationships at home
  • Going off with people in cars that you don’t know
  • Being invited to parties with people you don’t know
  • Hanging around in areas that people don’t think are safe

How to get help

You need to know that whatever has happened, you are not responsible for it and you are not in trouble with the police.

If you feel that you might be in an exploitative relationship, the first step is to tell someone about it.

This could be a parent, carer, teacher or the police. If you want to contact us here at Derbyshire Constabulary, we have a dedicated, understanding and supportive Child Sexual Exploitation Investigation Unit that can be contacted via our 101 number.

We will help you through what is happening and work as hard as possible to stop the abusers from hurting you any further, or harming anyone else.

'Exploited' Film

The above video is a trailer for an 18-minute film entitled 'Exploited', in which a teenager becomes involved with a group that is sexually exploiting a 14-year-old girl. In contrast, the film also looks at a healthy relationship in terms of setting boundaries and mutual respect.

The film is aimed at secondary school pupils, as reports show that nearly three quarters of secondary education teachers say school lessons are the most important way to teach children about sexual exploitation.

The film aims to help young people learn:

  • that in good relationships both people want what is best for each other
  • that some people may seek to use you
  • that some people will make you feel special or use threats to gain control
  • how to tell when a situation is unsafe and how to set boundaries

The film has been produced for CEOP’s Thinkuknow programme as a tool for school teachers and youth group leaders.

The Thinkuknow programme is CEOP’s main educational resource and offers a wide range of information and support for children, parents, teachers and carers. Each year Thinkuknow reaches almost three-million children, and in September this year (2013) 16,541 resources were downloaded from its website. Since the programme website launched in 2006 more than 100,000 have signed up as users.

The extended 18-minute version of the film can be viewed on You Tube.

Other useful websites

The ThinkUKnow website has a wide range of advice on what to do if you feel you might be in an exploitative relationship.

Also, a leaflet is available on how to get help if you feel you are in a situation with an older person that you are uncomfortable with.

See the Safe and Sound leaflet in the Related Downloads section of this page and visit the Safe and Sound website for information on the support they provide to young people who are being, or are at risk of being, sexually exploited.

Do you need a quick answer to a general question? Then we recommend you visit the national Ask The Police web site.