Some people will do anything to get what they want. They'll manipulate and exploit. But they know they can only manipulate and exploit people who are vulnerable due to their circumstance or their age, or people who they know want something, they have. It's not the person who's being manipulated/exploited fault for being taken advantage of. Love is one common use of manipulation. Some people will make you believe they love you because of their words & gifts & how they look after you like no one else. But love is not transactional. Love still respects the other person's wishes. Love understands that no is no. Love doesn't blackmail or threaten.
SIX SIGNS OF CHILD SEXUAL EXPLOITATION:
1. Being encouraged to be secretive even with your close friends & family (with negative consequences if you don’t)
2. Being forced or strongly persuaded to send sexual videos/images of yourself or/& have sexual conversations or acts
3. Only being treated with money/gifts/alcohol/drugs/protection/love after giving the person/s sex or what they want
4. Feeling like you have no choice but to do whatever they want
5. They’re significantly older than you (especially if you’re under 18 and they’re over 16)
6. They’re nice & loving to you but you can only be on their good side if you do the stuff they want you to do
These are not all the signs & all those signs do not have to present for it to be considered Child Sexual Exploitation, but if you are worried for yourself or for a friend. Even if you’re not 100% sure, you can speak to Childline 0800 11 11 or the NSPCC (Child protection organisation) 0808 800 5000 or call 999 if the situation is an emergency.
There is help out there. Even if you think your life or others may be in danger. The priority is always helping the child to safely escape and not making them feel bad for anything that has happened to them or what they may have done.
If you’d like to talk to us about anything, our website chatline is open every Wed 4-6pm for beingHer topics.