Sexual exploitation is when a person is exploited for money, power or status, this abuse is often committed after a period of time in which the victim is groomed.
But it is often quite hard to tell if a person is a victim of Sexual Exploitation. There are a few reasons behind this. Firstly, the victim will often believe that they are in a loving relationship. Secondly, the signs of Sexual Exploitation can also be the signs of a number of different things and finally, because often a victims can be groomed for a substantial amount of time before they are sexually exploited.
It is a form of sexual abuse and it is against the law.
What is the grooming process?
It is a lengthy process that involves gaining the trust and dependence of a young person, this is often done by meeting a specific need that person has. For example, if that young person doesn’t have enough money for tea, they might start by buying them food.
An abuser will often start manipulating their victim as they start to gain that trust, separating them from family and friends and encouraging them to skip school, where different clothes and spend more and more time with them.
Although these may seem innocent they can make a victim fall in love, become totally dependent on the abuser or reduce their confidence to such a low level that they don’t feel they deserve better.
Opening up can be one of the hardest challenges facing people who have experienced this. Realising that you are being exploited and then admitting it are two very tough things to do.
This can be made even harder by the wedge abusers drive between their victim and their family and friend. Making sure your friends know you are always there for them is one of the easiest ways to protect them from sexual exploitation.
If you want help or are worried about a friend you can contact support through Cornerhouse Confidential or by calling any of the numbers listed on our get help page.
Find out what the signs that someone you know could be being exploited are here.