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How does sexual exploitation happen?

In the films we see three ways that someone can be exploited but there are others too.  It might be a relationship or a one-off situation.

If you are worried that something described here might be happening to you then you can talk to WiSE. We will listen and we will believe you. Call or text Ed on 07557 855731.

Grooming
Grooming is when someone makes you believe they care about you so that they can sexually exploit you.  They will get you to trust them, which gives them the power to control you.  They might do this by: giving you gifts and attention, trying to isolate you from friends and family, asking you to keep secrets, asking you to do things you’re uncomfortable with.  They might start forcing you to do sexual things for them or other people.  A groomer can be any age, gender or background.

Sextortion
Sextortion is when someone tries to get sexual images and videos from someone and then uses these to blackmail them, often for money. It’s likely that this person will use social media or dating apps to make initial contact, and then convince the victim to take their clothes off and do sexual things in front of a webcam. They do this by pretending to be someone else, which is possible even if you think something is a live feed. The exploiter secretly records the victim and then threatens to share the images or videos with family and friends or make it public unless they give them money. It can be really scary, but if this has happened to you there is help available. The National Crime Agency have the following advice: http://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/crime-threats/kidnap-and-extortion/sextortion

Check out this cartoon on Sextortion:  https://youtu.be/agbtK5Me8rg

Online dating
Another way that you can be exploited is by meeting someone online. The film ‘Rob, 18’ shows 15 year old Rob who is unsure of his sexuality; he goes online to meet new people and find a relationship. However, the person he meets online lies about his age, grooms him, puts pressure on him to do sexual things and then introduces him to his ‘friends’, who may also want to exploit and abuse him. CEOP have some useful advice for online dating: https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/14_plus/Need-advice/Online-dating/

Gaming
Online gaming platforms can be used by exploiters to make friends with children and young people.  They might try and draw you into private chats by offering cheats or tricks.  Have a look at this video: https://youtu.be/TcMd468Pqbs

Abuse of a position of trust
In ‘Yes, Miss’ Flynn was in a sexual relationship with his teacher.  He didn’t see it as abusive or exploitative but if someone holds power or authority over another person this position can be abused.  They have the power to influence and groom the child involved and it is not a fair and balanced relationship and it many cases can be illegal.

At a sports club
Another abuse of a position of trust might take place in sports club.  For example, if you really want to be a professional football player some exploiters may use this to get you to do sexual things for them by telling you they can help you reach your dreams, or by telling you they will kick you out if you don’t do what they ask.  This sort of exploitation can happen in other sports environments, or wherever one person leads another to believe that they will help them with something or somewhere they want to get to if they do what they want.

At a party
Sometimes pressure might be put on you to do something sexually for someone else because they’ve spent time with you, invited you to a party, or given you drugs and alcohol.  If you feel pressured to do something you don’t want to do then this is exploitation.  

Connected to gangs and groups
If you are associated with a gang or a group you can be at risk of sexual exploitation and other forms of abuse.  You might be pressured into getting involved in drugs or physical and sexual violence.   There may be pressure to do certain things to another girl or boy, or things might happen to you, and you don’t feel like you can say no without serious repercussions.

Peer on peer abuse
This is the phrase used to describe exploitation that goes on between people who are of a similar age and might even be friends.  In ‘A Click Too Far’ we met Adam, who is going out with Beth.  Beth convinces Adam to send her a naked picture of himself.  He does this, but then she shares the photo with friends and it quickly spreads around the school.  This is a form of exploitation and it is illegal.  It’s important to remember that any form of exploitation can take place between peers or friends.

Check out CEOP’s advice on selfies: https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/14_plus/Need-advice/Selfies-and-sexting/

Exploitation can take place anywhere, to anybody and by anybody.