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Child sexual exploitation and child trafficking

Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse and may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example, rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside clothing.

It may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in the production of sexual images, forcing children to look at sexual images or watch sexual activities. Or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including grooming over the internet).

The definition of child sexual exploitation is as follows:

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.

(Information taken from the Department of Educations Guidance on Child Sexual Exploitation.)

Advice and support for professionals

You can get practical support and advice around dealing with issues of Sexual Exploitation.

The Safeguarding Children and Young People from Sexual Exploitation - The Department for Education published Child Sexual Exploitation: definition and guide fro practitioners in 2017.   

Reporting a CSE concern

Where a CSE concern has been identified, the form below is to be used to provide intelligence to the police in order to get a better understanding of local CSE concerns and issues. 

If you need further details or help to completing the form please contact your CSE Champion or the CSE team direct by emailing

Report a CSE concern online.

Complete the Child Sexual Exploitation form by hand and email the completed form to the Multi-Agency Child Sexual Exploitation Team (CSET) on

Report suspected CSE as a member of the public: Operation Willow

Operation Willow is a partnership which promotes awareness of child sexual exploitation by working closely with schools, GPs, taxi firms and pubs.

You can report suspected CSE as a member of the public by calling 101 and quoting ‘Operation Willow’ or calling the Say Something helpline anonymously on 116 600.

Practitioners and Volunteers can report suspected child sexual exploitation by emailing to the CSE Team at using the template report above.

Resources for professionals to promote awareness

If you're a professional and want to raise awareness in your setting to staff and the public you can download our CSE awareness posters:

Reporting a CSE concern as a young person: #SaySomething

The Say Something Team provide listening support to young people enabling young people to discuss worries and feelings, get advice and pass on concerns around child sexual exploitation anonymously.

This service is free, 24 hour and confidential. There is no requirement to provide the Team with your name and you are able to call or text 116 000 or email

For further information download our:

Child trafficking

Child trafficking and modern slavery is child abuse. Children are recruited, moved or transported and then exploited, forced to work or sold.

Many children are trafficked into the UK from abroad, but children can also be trafficked from one part of the UK to another.

(Information taken from the NSPCC website.)

Further information

  • Kent and Medway Trafficking Toolkit 2012 – practical advice and advice to professionals about the issue of Child Trafficking. Produced by KSCB and MSCP's Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation Sub-group
  • Abbreviated toolkit - offers support to professionals who have concerns that a child or young person may have been trafficked. It is intended for frontline staff who come into contact with children and young people and have concerns around this issue. It offers practical advice about steps to take and a checklist to help identify any concerns.
  • National Referral Mechanism (NRM) for identifying, protecting and supporting trafficking victims and National Referral Mechanism (NRM) form for potential victims of trafficking and modern slavery
  • The Quick Reference Guide - to identify risk factors and signpost professionals to take action if concerns are raised

Helpful documents