What can we do about sexual exploitation at grass-root level?

Nicole LouisUncategorizedLeave a Comment

Many parents give freedom to their teenager because they think their teenagers are ‘grown up’ and do not need the same level of emotional protection that a middle-school aged child would receive. This is dangerous!  A video I recently saw and shared on Facebook highlighted just one of many examples of how our young people, who frequently go missing, end up being sexually exploited. This happens to male and female, but females, in particular, are most vulnerable. They are used as sex slaves; drugged, beaten, used for gang initiations and drugs runners.

Are you a parent?

If you are a parent, please, please stop saying your teenager is old enough, they are able to make sensible decisions and they can keep themselves safe. You will be surprised at the amount of ‘very sensible young people who are being groomed because the art of grooming is for the victim to be so unassuming of the perpetrator, who is usually a ‘friend’ or someone whom they respect.

When I am delivering training to teachers and parents on this subject, there are three major things I tell them they need to be doing with young people to reduce what is called the ‘pull’ and ‘push factors’ which are commonly prevalent in sexual exploitation cases.
1 – Know the young person – that means their friends, associates, places they socialise and what makes those people and places important to them
2 – Support the young person to have a focus on career or education – they need something that they won, that is theirs and which will encourage the growth of their self-esteem and identity. Two key things for a young person in this phase of their development and if they are going to pass through that developmental stage successfully

3 – Create and maintain a relationship where no subject is taboo – they NEED to know you are a safe person they can come to, to talk about anything, whether that drugs, sex, relationships, etc. If you are not having those conversations with them, it is an issue. That needs to be changed, today!

Young people need a figure whom they can rely on.  Unfortunately, they do not all have a biological parent who can meet their emotional needs, but extended family and community makes a huge difference!

Between aunts, uncles, grandparents, siblings, step-parents and siblings, Godparents, friends, teachers, etcetera, they can provide a coordinated structure of support for children and young people, and indeed biological parents.  The widespread impact of sexual exploitation is not often discussed.  These people who have seen a child mature and grow in age; those who have looked after and cared for that child, can also experience the worry, fear, shock and trauma of the aftermath of sexual exploitation.  They are often the people who are there or who step in before, during and after Children’s Services, the Court and Police become involved to support the parents of the exploited child.

If these people are the ones forming the structured support around parents, then it follows they are the ones who need to be armed with information about sexual exploitation as a subject matter. What it is, what it looks like and what role they can play in safeguarding children and young people in their community.


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07908 926 741


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