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What is child sexual exploitation?

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a type of child abuse in which children are sexually exploited for money, power or status.

It can affect any child or young person – regardless of their background, culture, gender, age, or ethnicity.

The official definition of CSE is:

“Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator.

“The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology.”      

Although CSE is child abuse, it is not an offence in its own right. The offences that usually form part of a CSE case include sexual offences, kidnap, torture, assault, and trafficking.

Organisations in Bedfordshire have teamed together to raise awareness of CSE and offer support. You can find out more on the Bedfordshire Against Violence and Exploitation (opens in new window) website.

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