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Child Sexual Exploitation

What is Child Sexual Exploitation?

sexual-exploitationAccording to the NSPCC definition, it is defined as “a type of sexual abuse in which children are sexually exploited for money, power or status.

Children or young people may be tricked into believing they’re in a loving, consensual relationship. They might be invited to parties and given drugs and alcohol. They may also be groomed online.

Some children and young people are trafficked into or within the UK for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Sexual exploitation can also happen to young people in gangs.”

There have been several scandals in the media about sexual exploitation in several cities around the UK, all of which reveal that there are several common themes:-

  • Children/adolescents are deceived into believing that another person (“gang member”) is their friend.
  • The children are vulnerable and open to “grooming” by an older and less naïve adult.
  • The children are sometime in care.
  • The “gang member” who poses as a friend entices them with drink, and promises of love and affection
  • Once “hooked” the “friendship” turns into an excuse to exploit the child.
  • Over a period of time, unspeakable crimes take place including rape, forced sexual acts, violence, threats of violence, often under the influence of drugs and drink.
  • The children feel unable to escape the gang influence through fear of the consequences.
  • The gang make threats against the children and their families if they dare to “tell”.
  • The children often try to tell adults who are not only inside but outside their families.
  • Those who hear the complaints either do not believe them, or fail to act out of ignorance, or bad judgement.
  • If the complaint gets as far as the police, then in previous times, a lack of skill on the part of the investigative authorities has resulted in no action, or failed attempts at prosecution.
  • Even if a police prosecution results, the gang continue to use techniques designed to undermine the proposed case such as
    • Intimidation of witnesses
    • Threats of violence against the victims’ families.
    • Threats against the victims
    • Threats relating to the religious beliefs of certain Asian families concerning the prohibition of sex before marriage.
    • Legal techniques at trial designed to undermine the will of the victim by the use of repeated and prolonged cross examination by legal counsel instructed by each gang member in a multi-Defendant trial – a repetition of the abuse itself in another form.
  • Inevitably, the abuse causes harm, which can be classified into sexual, emotional and physical.

The problems surrounding sexual exploitation on the part of the police result from the need to adopt what can be described as the “reverse of the usual methods of policing” whereby the police usually react to a complaint by a member of the public.

It is believed that the police should not go out looking for a crime proactively, but wait for a crime to come forwards uninitiated, and unprovoked by the investigative authorities.

Sexual Exploitation, however, requires a proactive approach in order to prosecute it successfully. Young witnesses will not come forward voluntarily, because of the very nature of the threats, and intimidation described already.

Non-recent abuse has, at times, been allocated a low priority by the police force with a concentration on the character and nature of the victim rather than the need to seek the supportive evidence of other witnesses.

Any victim of child sexual exploitation has rights, which we can help them enforce, so as to give them, hopefully, some sort of justice, which inevitably they deserve.

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