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Exploitation

Exploitation is defined by the Home Office as occurring “when an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, control, manipulate or deceive [a child]. The victim may have been criminally exploited even if the activity appears consensual. Criminal exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also be through the use of technology”.

There are several types of exploitation, including:

  • Sexual: victims can be forced, or appear willing, to work in the sex industry in a variety of locations. Often involves the use of the internet and can involve children;
  • Labour: victims work for offenders directly or for others and have their wages ‘taxed’ for living expenses by an offender;
  • Criminal: victims are forced or coerced into criminal activities;
  • Domestic servitude: a domestic helper or worker who performs a variety of tasks within their employer’s home, but there are restrictions on the worker’s movements, and they are forced to work long hours for little pay. They may also suffer physical and sexual abuse;
  • Forced marriage: when a person is put under pressure to marry someone, and can be threatened with physical or sexual violence or are placed under emotional or psychological distress in order to achieve these aims; and
  • Organ harvesting: victim’s organs, blood or eggs may be taken to be sold. 

If you or someone you know is at risk or is being exploited, there are a number of agencies you can contact for advice and support. Please tell someone.

  • Family Connect have a range of information on their website including signposting and resources, for children and young people who have been affected by exploitation
  • Telford & Wrekin Council have a dedicated Children Abused Through Exploitation (CATE) team, who work with those affected by exploitation. For referral to this service, please contact Family Connect on 01952 385285
  • Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) is a law enforcement agency, and can be used to report a concern about CSE via their website
  • West Mercia Police can be contacted if you want to report an incident or any suspicions you may have, and this can be done by either ringing 101 which is the non-emergency number, or by going to your local police station to speak to someone in person

If it is an emergency or there is an immediate danger, always ring 999.