Child exploitation is the manipulation and/or coercion of young people under the age of 18. It can manifest itself in different forms, including child abuse, sexual exploitation, county lines drug dealing, human trafficking and online grooming. It is a crime that can affect any child anywhere, anytime regardless of their social or ethnic background or whether they are a boy or a girl.

Child exploitation is happening in Warwickshire so it is important that parents, carers, professionals and the wider community take responsibility to learn about child exploitation, understand how to spot the signs and know how to report it.

Signs of exploitation can include:

  • receiving unexpected and expensive gifts or money
  • being given cigarettes, alcohol or other expensive items
  • hanging out with older people
  • being picked up from school by strangers
  • using drugs and drinking alcohol
  • mood swings
  • self-harming
  • sometimes disappearing or going missing
  • staying out late
  • being secretive about where you're going
  • being secretive with a mobile phone, laptop, tablet or other electronic devices
  • lack of interest in activities and hobbies
  • skipping school

Further information and resources around child exploitation, including the different types of exploitation, what signs to look for in a child or young person, real life stories, and the support available if you or someone you know may be a victim of child exploitation.