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Child exploitation

What is child exploitation?

Exploitation is the use of a child or young person for someone else’s advantage, gratification or profit. It often results in unjust, cruel and harmful treatment of the child or young person. 

There are many ways a child or young person can be exploited. The most common are child sexual exploitation and child criminal exploitation. 

The exploitation normally follows three stages:

  1. Recruitment - this can happen in different ways, but is best described as a grooming process 
  2. Control - this establishes the dominance of the perpetrator over the victim 
  3. Exploitation

Parents and carers are often the first to notice the early signs of exploitation. Your child might start behaving differently, over and above typical teenage behaviour.

Who is at risk?

Teenagers are very vulnerable to exploitation. Young people start to develop their own identity, get closer to their peers and become more independent. This is normal behaviour. But it is also when organised crime groups and individuals can take advantage. They may manipulate or intimidate a young person into doing something illegal.

What to do in an emergency

Always call 999 if there is a risk to life or a crime is in progress.

How to get support

If you are worried about a child or young person who is at risk of being exploited, contact us.

You can also report your concerns to West Midlands Police on 101.

The following organisations can help too:


Child exploitation awareness videos

Empower - choose to end it

Would you know the signs?