What Is Sexual Exploitation?

Sexual exploitation is when someone is trying to manipulate or force you to do something sexual. It could be asking you to send pictures of yourself naked or semi-naked or forcing you to do something sexual with them or another person.

A friend, group of friends, or someone you think of as a boyfriend or girlfriend, or have chatted to online could be asking you to do this and taking advantage of you. Your relationships with them may have seemed ok at first but you may be feeling confused about it now.

Knowing the signs that can lead to someone taking advantage of you can help to keep you safe.

Does it just happen face-to-face?

It’s still abuse even if someone makes you do something you don’t want to over the Internet. It’s important to be aware of the risks of chatting to strangers on-line and that people you chat to may not always be who they say they are. You can be tempted to give out personal details but it’s really important that you’re careful about what details you give out online.

  • NEVER give out personal contact details online and NEVER meet up with someone you’ve met online unless an adult goes along with you.
  • Never send any pictures of yourself or your mates and family to anyone you’ve met online.
  • Don’t open links to other sites you might have been sent in a chat room and don’t open e-mails from anyone you don’t know.
  • If you’re being pestered in a chat room, block that person.  Ask someone how to do this.

Tell your parents or your teachers straightway if you come across any info or pictures that make you feel awkward or embarrassed. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this then report them online at www.thinkuknow.co.uk.

Emma’s story shows the dangers and consequences of sexting. If you or one of your friends has witnessed or been a victim of sexual exploitation and need someone to talk to contact Nest Lancashire on 0300 111 0323, text NEST and your number to 60777 or visit their website

What are the effects of abuse?

Being abused can have some serious effects – some physical and emotional.

The physical effects might include scars and bruises and you might be in physical pain.

The emotional effects can include feeling low, ashamed, worthless, ugly, confused and scared.  You might also feel like you can’t trust anyone and that there isn’t a way out.

Is it my fault?

If you are being abused you must remember that it isn’t your fault.  You have a right to feel safe and protected and no one has a right to abuse you.  It’s the abuser who’s wrong.

Ninety five percent of children who call ChildLine know their abuser. It might be their parents, a relative, a family friend, a teacher or even someone you look up to but this doesn’t make it ok.  It’s your body and you get to say who can and can’t touch you.

Telling someone

You might feel afraid and confused or too scared to do anything about it but you must be brave and act.

Tell an adult you can trust – if they don’t listen or believe you, tell someone else and keep going until someone listens. Remember it’s not your fault.

Sometimes abuse can go on for years if you don’t tell someone or report it. Don’t deal with it alone, call Childline on 0800 1111, it’s free and available 24/7.

If you tell a teacher they have to pass on the information to the police or social services. If you call ChildLine and tell the counsellor you’re being abused, they won’t tell anybody unless you want them to or if the counsellor thinks you’re in danger.

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