What is Child Sexual Exploitation?

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.  (Department for Education, 2017)

Children or young people can be groomed or tricked into thinking they are in a loving relationship. They might be invited to parties and given drugs and alcohol. They may also be groomed or abused online. Some children and young people are trafficked into or within the UK for the purpose of sexual exploitation. You can read more about the different forms this abuse takes here.

For more information please read this leaflet produced by the Luton Safeguarding Children Board, read guidance for professionals or watch this short film on 10 key facts about CSE

What to do if you are worried about a child

Members of the public

  • If the child is in immediate danger, call the Police on 999.
  • If you want to discuss your concerns with a social worker, please contact the Rapid Intevention and Assessment Team (Duty Desk) – 01582 547653
  • To report your concerns to Bedfordshire Police, please ring non-emergency number101.


Go to the Luton Safeguarding Children Board website which will provides you with information about the signs a child may be at risk, how to report abuse and more resources.