‘Child sexual exploitation is happening in Warwickshire, don’t ignore it’ is the message from a new campaign.
Parents and children are being urged to look for the signs and act when they see ‘something’s not right’.
Chief Constable of Warwickshire Police, Andy Parker, said: “Child sexual exploitation is a type of sexual abuse in which children are sexually exploited for money, power or status.
“Children or young people may be tricked into believing they’re in a loving, consensual relationship. They might be invited to parties and given drugs and alcohol. They may also be groomed online.
“Some children and young people are trafficked into or within the UK for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Sexual exploitation can also happen to young people in gangs.”
Campaigners are encouraging people to look out for a number of signs or concerns, which include: a young person regularly missing from home or school, receiving a high volume of texts or calls, change in personal appearance, self-harming, unexplained gifts such as jewellery, and a change in behaviour.
Detective Inspector Nigel Jones, head of the Child Sexual Exploitation service for Warwickshire and West Mercia Police, said: “There are various figures on the scale of child sexual exploitation in Warwickshire, but in reality these are all estimates, and probably below what the reality is.
“We are determined to stop children being abused and exploited, to prevent harm to those being abused, bring justice to all those who commit such abhorrent crimes, and to ensure the public are confident to come forward when they require our help.
“The young person involved might not even be aware what is happening, so it might be a school friend, a parent, a taxi driver or a teacher who spots what is happening and helps bring an end to the exploitation.
“I’d urge anyone to contact us when they see something’s not right. “
“Children or young people may be tricked into believing they’re in a loving, consensual relationship”Chief Constable Andy Parker
Call 01926 684490 to discuss your concerns or visit http://warwickshirecse.co.uk.
A range of videos and social media trends are being used to promote the initiative.