Child Exploitation (CE)


Government guidance defines Child Sexual Exploitation as:

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.

This form of abuse can be difficult to identify and sometimes indicators may be mistaken for ‘normal adolescent behaviours’. It requires knowledge and skills to analyse the risk factors and personal circumstances of individual children to ensure that the signs and symptoms are interpreted correctly and appropriate support is given.

Practitioners working with children should familiarise themselves with Section A of this guidance.

Potential risk indicators include:

  • Acquisition of money, clothes, mobile phones etc. without explanation;
  • Gang-association and/or isolation from peers and social networks;
  • Exclusion or unexplained absences from school, college or work;
  • Leaving home or care without explanation and persistently going missing or returning late;
  • Excessive receipt of texts and phone calls;
  • Returning home under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
  • Inappropriate sexualised behaviour for age and sexually transmitted infections;
  • Evidence of and suspicions of physical or sexual assault;
  • Relationships with controlling or significantly older individuals or groups;
  • Multiple callers (unknown adults or peers);
  • Frequenting areas known for sex work;
  • Concerning use of internet or other social media;
  • Increasing secretiveness around behaviours; 
  • Self-harm or significant changes in emotional well-being

CSE Awareness Raising


NWG Stop CSE - Checklist of Indicators

NWG Stop CSE - Posters

Taxi Drivers

NWG Stop CSE - Code of Conduct

NWG Stop CSE - Guidance for Operators

NWG Stop CSE - Possible Signs

NWG Stop CSE - Window Sticker


CSE Toolkit

Child Exploitation Recognition, Referral, Risk and Response Guidance

Revised Children at Risk of Exploitation Strategy

Leaflet on Child Sexual Abuse Through Exploitation

Alternative terms for describing CSE - Make A Change Team

Suffolk CSE Disruption Toolkit for Professionals

NWG Disruption Toolkit

Capturing & Reporting Intelligence: CSE/CE - Guidance for Families, Professionals and the Community

Government Child Exploitation Disruption Toolkit

Government CSE Definition and Guide for Practitioners 

Make a Change Team: What We Do

Make a Change Team - Child Referral Form

CSE Police and Prevention Toolkits - resources that may be useful for professionals when working with children and young people, their families and communities around CSE, including Boys and Young Men, BME, Child Criminal Exploitation, Deaf and Physically Disabled Children & Young People, LGBTQ+ Young People.  

Unprotected, overprotected: meeting the needs of young people with learning disabilities who experience, or are at risk of, sexual exploitation

Children's Society - Online Exploitation Information and Guidance

Children's Society - Exploitation Z-Card

Children's Society - Emoji Dictionary

Net Aware - Guide to social networks, apps and games

More Information

Money Mules - Information about fraudsters asking people to receive money into their bank account, transferring it into another account and keeping some of the cash for themselves. Known as 'money mules', it is money laundering and is a crime.



CEOP Think U Know

The Children's Society

The Lucy Faithfull Foundation

Stop it Now

Seen and Heard

Keep Them Safe - Online Course

Ofsted Report - The sexual exploitation of children - it couldn't happen here, could it?

Child Exploitation Toolkit