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“Sexual exploitation of children and young people under 18 years of age involves exploitative situations, contexts and relationships where a child or young person (or a third person or persons) receive ‘something’ (e.g. food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, affection, gifts, money) as a result of them performing, and/or another or others performing on them, sexual activities” (NWG, 2008).

Children with learning disabilities are more likely to be vulnerable but have been somehow excluded from the above definition, hence, looking at CSE in addition to the following definition, helps to cover all issues:
In the UK, a statutory definition of CSE has been proposed by the government, to ensure that all agencies are working together towards the same meaning. HM Government defines ‘Child sexual exploitation is a form of child abuse. It occurs where anyone under the age of 18 is persuaded, coerced or forced into sexual activity in exchange for, amongst other things, money, drugs/alcohol, gifts, affection or status. Consent is irrelevant, even where a child may believe they are voluntarily engaging in sexual activity with the person who is exploiting them. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact and may occur online.’

It is important to understand that CSE is a child abuse and a crime because it has huge impact on the physical, social, emotional and psychological health and well-being of the child or young person. CSE can be perpetrated by both adults and peers of the same age as, or slightly older, than the individual being exploited.

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