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Child Exploitation


This page has been endorsed by the York Youth Council


Child Exploitation is a type of abuse. When a child or young person is exploited they’re groomed by being given things, like gifts, drugs, money, status and affection. This is usually in exchange for performing sexual activities, known as Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE), or for carrying out a criminal activity, known as Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE).



wall child exploitation

Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) and County Lines


Child Criminal Exploitation happens when a person or group of people trick, persuade, bully or use their power over you to take part in criminal activity. The adults may take advantage of you by:

  • Offering you something you need or want
  • Threatening or using violence against the you

The adult exploiting you will often gain financially from the criminal activity. Sometimes you will not realise that you are being exploited.

‘County lines’ is the police term for urban gangs supplying drugs to suburban areas, market and coastal towns using dedicated mobile phone lines or “deal lines”. It is also known as 'going country'.  It involves child criminal exploitation (CCE) as gangs use children and vulnerable people to move drugs and money.

  • Spotting the signs of Criminal Exploitation:
  • Returning home late, staying out all night or going missing
  • Being found in areas away from home
  • Increasing drug use, or being found to have large amounts of drugs on them
  • Being secretive about who they are talking to and where they are going
  • Unexplained absences from school, college, training or work
  • Unexplained money, phone(s), clothes or jewellery Increasingly disruptive or aggressive behaviour
  • Using sexual, drug-related or violent language you wouldn’t expect them to know
  • Coming home with injuries or looking particularly dishevelled Having hotel cards or keys to unknown places 

'Billy's Story' 

This video created by Humberside Office for the Police and Crime Commissioner (who have commissioned a 'Not in our Community' campaign) highlights how easy it can be for an adult to trick you into being involved in selling drugs.


Child Sexual Exploitation

Sexual Exploitation is when someone uses something you need or want in order to get you involved in sexual activities. It can involve being forced, pressured, persuaded or tricked into sexual activity. It can involve exchanges of sexual activity for attention, accommodation, gifts, cigarettes or alcohol. Sexual Exploitation can happen to girls and boys.

These are some of the signs that sexual exploitation is taking place:

  • Offering you money or goods in exchange for sex
  • Stalking your online activities
  • Asking you to participate in non-contact sexual activities such as engaging in sexual conversations online or via mobile telephone
  • Asking you to take and share indecent images of yourself online or through a mobile telephone
  • Asking you to display sexualised behaviours or perform sexual acts that are recorded or shared live via webcam
  • Arranging to meet you for the purpose of sexually abusing you

Offenders of sexual exploitation may approach you on the street and gain your trust by offering you drugs, alcohol or gifts.

Offenders may try to make friends with you online through online chat rooms, social networking websites, email and mobile telephone messaging.

Offenders may convince you that you are in a relationship with them but they are in fact trying to gain your trust and this is called grooming.

'Becky's Story'

This video created by Humberside Office for the Police and Crime Commissioner (who have commissioned a 'Not in our Community' campaign) highlights how easy it can be for someone to befriend a child or young person and the dangers they can encounter. 

Worried About A Friend or Do You Need Help?

If you think you or a friend is being exploited in any way, you can:

Call York MASH on 01904 551900 (9-5pm) after hours 01609 780780 or email

Call the Police - if there is immediate danger call 999

Call Childline - Phone Number: 0800 11 11. Free, confidential service and 24 hours.

If you prefer to message anonymously, both these websites have online forms to allow you to pass on information about a crime:


 Fearless logo    Crime Stoppers banner


Useful Links

The following organisations can also help you and give you free confidential advice:

 Disrespect Nobody logo    
Disrespect Nobody - Home Office website which provides information and guidance on healthy relationships, and explains what is sexting, consent, and rape.    


 Rape Crisis banner
Rape Crisis - help if you’ve experienced rape, child sexual abuse or any kind of sexual violence details of local Rape Crisis services; information about sexual violence for survivors, people supporting survivors.


 Respect Not Fear banner  
Respect not Fear - a website providing information and guidance on healthy relationships, also contains stories and games.  


The Safety Net is a project to prevent the exploitation of people with learning disabilities by those claiming to be their friends, and aimed to deal with issues around mate crime.    



 Would You app        Wud U? lets you find out how some young people end up being sexual exploited. You can think about the decisions you would make if you were in the same situation, and get advice about your decisions. 



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