On this page we'll look at the following, simply click on the links below to be taken straight to the section.


Thirteen - Sexual Exploitation
Thirteen - Criminal Exploitation


Sexual Exploitation - Grooming

[ on-line movie watcher? ]

[ social media junkie? ]

[ on-line gamer? ]

Are you worried that someone is contacting you and your friends? Grooming happens to boys and young men too!


What is grooming?

Grooming is when someone convinces you or your family or carer that they are a safe and trustworthy person so they can sexually exploit you. This can happen to anyone.

Young people can be groomed online or face-to-face, by a stranger or by someone they know. Online groomers sometimes hide their identity and pretend to be the same age as you, so you fall into a false sense of security.

A Groomer can make you feel like they are the only person who will listen to you, pay you compliments, show interest in you and make you feel grown up. They may do this by offering you a friendship, a relationship or by becoming your boyfriend or girlfriend. They may attempt to groom your parents or carer too, by becoming their friends as well.


Groomers can be:

  • Male or Female
  • Any age
  • Seem like your friend
  • Offer you things that others can’t, including compliments, someone you can trust and talk to
  • Provide gifts such as money, clothes, a mobile, a place to chill or crash
  • Ask you to lie and keep secrets
  • Distract you from your real friendships and relationships


How do they do it...

A person who grooms may spend a long time getting to know all the finer details about you for example

  • Making friends with you
  • Getting to know you and gathering information about your interests, such as music, gaming, the school you attend, your friendship circles and your family members.
  • Offering advice to you about problems you may be having in your day to day life (this may not be good advice and may place you at more risk)
  • Giving you lots of positive attention and paying you compliments
  • Invite you to parties or trips out
  • Offering you accommodation overnight, especially if you are having problems at home


How can you tell...

Here are some warning signs that someone may be grooming you

  • Asking you to do things you wouldn’t normally do
  • Encouraging you not to tell anyone
  • Insisting that they meet up with you when they have only just met you
  • Travelling a long way from another area to meet up with you
  • Taking you to places that you are unfamiliar with (so you don’t know your way back)
  • Encouraging you to get involved in dares
  • Asking personal questions around your sexual identity
  • Introducing sexual terminology, sending and receiving sexual images
  • Encouraging you to break the law and cover for you when commit a crime
  • Become controlling of the situation, becoming possessive and making you feel bad


I am worried this could be happening to me...


If you are a young person you may find it difficult to accept you have or are being groomed, you may feel embarrassed, ashamed, guilty, or scared. YOU don’t need to be any of these things. Remember you have done nothing wrong and there is lots of support available for you. Groomers often target a number of young people at the same time. There will be other young people experiencing similar things as you. If you think you may have been groomed or think you know someone who has been groomed, speak to someone you can trust. This may be a relative, friend, teacher, teaching assistant,Youth Worker, Youth Offending worker, Social Worker or a Volunteer.


Top Tips

Young people are often targeted through social media platforms Make sure that...

  • You only add or accept “friend” requests from people you know in person and not because they are a friend of a friend
  • Make sure that your profiles are kept private and your privacy settings are used, otherwise this makes you an easier target
  • Don’t share any information or images that you wouldn’t share with your nana
  • Make sure your location settings are restricted making it difficult for others to see where you are
  • Always let a parent, carer, or friend know where you are and who you are meeting



Criminal Exploitation

What is Criminal exploitation (CCE)?

Criminal exploitation can happen in any area and to any young person. Children and young people can be coerced in one form or another into committing crimes in exchange for something that they might need.

Sometimes adults who young people believe they can trust will move young people around via various methods of transport including trains, cars, taxi’s for the purpose of criminal activity and/or so other adults can also exploit them too.

When this happens, perceptions of others can sometimes mean that our children and young people are stereotyped and can be left feeling they are being labelled as criminals. Others may believe that young people who engage in these risky behaviours are seen as being willing to take part in illegal offences. This can make children and young people fearful of asking a trusted adult for help or support when they most need it or accessing the support that is right for them.

Who does it effect?

  • Can affect any child or young person, male or female and under the age of 18
  • Can still be exploitative even if the activity seems consensual
  • Can involve forced or enticement based methods (so the young person feels like they cannot say no)
  • Can be perpetrated by individuals, groups, males or females, peers or adults

What might be involved?

  • Gang involvement
  • Going Missing (reported or unreported)
  • Child sexual exploitation (CSE)
  • Violence
  • Social Media (to make initial contact)
  • Running Drugs
  • Modern Slavery
  • Debt to others
  • Homelessness
  • Trafficked (moved from one place to another with the aim of criminal activity

County Lines is a form of criminal exploitation

You may have heard of County lines already but unsure of what it actually means.

It is an illegal drugs market where young people are recruited and exploited for the supply of Class A drugs(normally Heroin, Crack Cocaine) on behalf of others, usually gangs.

Originating from large Cities, young people are coerced into travelling to locations elsewhere such as county or coastal towns. Gangs typically recruit and exploit children and young people to courier drugs and cash via transport and reward them with gifts such as money and gifts like clothes and mobile phones. This then makes the criminal activity look appealing and glamourous to young people.

The use of debt bondage is a common feature in the criminal exploitation of children and vunerable adults with threats of/or harm taking place. Gangs will tell young people that they owe the group money and have to work off the debt leaving the young person no choice but continue engaging with criminal activity and feeling isolated.

Young people are often sent to areas where they are unaware of their surroundings, making it a really risky environment to be in and lack of knowledge of who or where to go if they feel they are out of their depth and need support. Their only contact would be with other gang members who will not want to be identified to the police or other agencies and making it difficult for young people to access support.


You may have heard of “cuckooing”. This is the police term used when a vulnerable person’s home (adult) is taken over by criminals who exploit, coerce and bully their victim to assist with their criminal activities and the address that the young person would drop off their drugs too.

The property is used as a base from which to sell drugs, and mobile phones are used to order more drugs via couriers (young people) who travel by train or car.

Children and/or vulnerable adults are often pressured to become drug couriers, assist with theft, burglary and allow their homes to become drug dens or used for Child Sexual Exploitation.

Gangs use various methods to recruit young people and vulnerable adults often through a form of deception, grooming, threats to harm.

Signs to look out for

There are many signs that you can look out for if you feel that someone is involved in criminal exploitation.

  • Associating with adults or individuals who may seem controlling
  • Regular missing episodes and going out of area
  • Increased usage of phone
  • Unexplained amounts of money, clothes or mobile phones
  • Carrying weapons
  • Physical assaults
  • Decline in attendance and behaviour within education
  • Self harm
  • Anxiety or decline in emotional wellbeing

Top Tips

Remember it is not ok for someone to make you get involved in criminal activity. It is a form of abuse and it is against the law.

It is not always easy to recognise that you have been groomed into engaging in criminal activity. You may have been told that you will not get into any trouble.



I you think that you know someone who may be at risk of criminal exploitation you can contact
Humberside Police - non Urgent 101
Humberside Police - Immediate danger 999

Youth and Family Support, East Riding -

Help for Children and Young People 0800 1111

CEOP - Think you Know -

Young People's Sexual Health in Hull and the East Riding -

MESMAC- The BLAST project just for boys -

Local Campaign around Child Sexual Exploitation -