This awareness day is run by the NWG Network and is a day that is important for asphaleia as we run support services for young people at risk of or who have experienced exploitation, both in West Sussex and in the London Borough of Bromley. It is essential that we all recognise this issue affecting children and young people in our nation and we work together to protect our young ones. Staff have worn purple today and written pledges on their hands to show their support.
The first step is to get informed. Below is a summary of the different types of exploitation and there are also links to other organisations who provide further information and support services. If you would like to find out more about the services we offer related to child exploitation, please contact us via our contact page.
Child Sexual Exploitation
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. When sexual exploitation happens online, young people may be persuaded, or forced, to:
send or post sexually explicit images of themselves
take part in sexual activities via a webcam or smartphone
have sexual conversations by text or online.
Sending indecent images or ‘sexting’ or ‘sending nudes’ is illegal for anyone under the age of 18. Any image of an individual under 18 years old is classed as child pornography.
For further information on CSE please refer to the organisations below.
Criminal exploitation or ‘county lines’ is when gangs and organised crime networks exploit children to sell drugs. Often these children are made to travel across counties and they use dedicated mobile phone lines to supply drugs. We call it county lines simply because of the number/phone line used to sell and order drugs.
Gangs deliberately target vulnerable children, such as young people in care. They know that these children could potentially be more unsafe, unloved and want a place to belong.
For further information on criminal exploitation please refer to the organisations below.
Extremism and Radicalisation
Extremism is used to describe an ideology that is considered by most people to be far outside acceptable, mainstream attitudes of society. Radicalisation is the process by which an individual or group adopts extreme political, social or religious views. People can ‘self-radicalise’, by reading or listening to extremist literature or speakers. More commonly, there may be an individual or group actively seeking to persuade others to adopt their views. This process of persuasion or coercion is known as radicalisation.
The Home Office works with local authorities, a wide range of government departments, and community organisations to deliver the Prevent strategy. The police also play a significant role in Prevent, in much the same way as they do when taking a preventative approach to other crimes. Prevent provides practical help to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and ensure they are given appropriate advice and support and focuses on early intervention before any illegal activity takes place.
Whilst the media grabs our attention with stories of Islamic extremist terrorism we must be careful to not forget the rising and largely socially accepted threat that far right movements and groups such as National Action and Tommy Robinson has on our society.
For further information on radicalisation and extremism please use caution, many websites can be a front for the distribution of extremist materials. The charity that I have most recently come across is Small Steps, this is a charity set up and run by ex far right members and can be found here. For all other matters I would urge you to refer to the governments prevent strategy, you can refer to prevent via the police.
Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery
Human trafficking and modern slavery are thought to be amongst the most widespread crimes in the world, affecting millions of men, women and children each day.
Human trafficking is defined as the act of recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons by means of threat, force or coercion, abduction, deception or giving payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person for the purposes of exploitation.
Modern slavery encompasses:
Forced or compulsory labour
Traffickers and slave masters use whatever means they have at their disposal to coerce, deceive and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude, and inhumane treatment.
For more information on human trafficking and modern slavery please refer to the organisations below.