Am I or my friend being exploited?
What is Exploitation?
Exploitation is when a child or young person is tricked into or made to do something by an adult. This might be having sex, running drugs or stealing. You may have heard it being called grooming.
Sometimes it is really clear that you are being abused. Other times it is more difficult to know or realise because some adults will trick you into thinking that what is happening is nice, consensual, fun or good for you. It may be that you believe or are told that you owe someone something, so you feel you need to do what they ask.
One thing that always happens with exploitation is that, whether you know it or not, someone is using power over you and that is abuse.
Here are some of the things that you may notice if you or someone you know is being exploited:
- Having unexplained gifts or more money than usual
- Using a mobile phone more than normal and/or secretively or having more than one phone
- Spending time with much older people they say are friends
- Being picked up from home or school by someone you don't know and stopping hanging out with old friends
- Spending less time at school or regularly going missing from home
- Getting a sexually-transmitted infection
- Something has changed - maybe self-harming, looking or acting differently
How can I get help?
If you, or think a friend is being exploited or abused, help is available. You can contact the police direct on 101 or 999 if you are in immediate danger. You can also ring Childline for help and advice on 0800 11 11.
If you would prefer not to speak to the police you can contact Children's Services. The Team to call are called the MARU and can be contacted on 0300 123 1116 during the day or 01208 251 300 after 5pm and at weekends.
Here is a link for young people over 14 years old which tells you more about exploitation and what safe relationships look like .…
Please remember....exploitation is never a young persons fault.