Child Criminal Exploitation, or CCE, is when individuals or gangs target children and force them to carry out criminal activity. Exploiters may force young people to deal drugs, steal, commit violent or sexual acts and traffic them.

But what does all that mean?

Here are some examples of what CCE looks like:

  • If someone tells you to steal a bike or else they will assault you. This is CCE.
  • If someone tells you to sell drugs for them and you can keep some of the money or drugs. This is CCE.
  • If someone tells you to attack someone else and you will get paid if you do it. This is CCE.

In all of these examples it is the victim who is taking all of the risks and the perpetrator who is getting all of the rewards. This is Criminal Exploitation.

Below are some things to look out for if you are worried that one of your friends is involved in CCE:

  • They start having amounts of money that they cannot account for e.g. no job, still in school so how can you have £100 in cash?
  • They have new clothes, shoes, gadgets that they either cannot explain or are given as gifts.
  • They start using and carrying drugs, or larger quantities of drugs.
  • They are always on a different bike
  • They have unexplained injuries
  • They come home dirty and can’t or won’t explain it
  • They pay special attention to places and street names and may “know someone” in places you didn’t know they went
  • They mention people from different city’s
  • They have a change in attitude or behaviour. If someone is normally really quiet then become loud or vice versa
  • They are carrying weapons
  • They keep going missing

If you are concerned that you, or someone you know are being forced to do criminal activities then you need to speak to your teachers, coaches, youth workers and the police so that the person being exploited can get support.

Sexual Exploitation – Grooming

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

Where to go for help…

If you think that you know someone who may be at risk of criminal or sexual exploitation you can contact:

Humberside Police – non Urgent 101
Humberside Police – Immediate danger 999

Youth and Family Support, East Riding – eastriding.gov.uk

Local Campaign around Child Sexual Exploitation – notinourcommunity.org

CEOP – Think you Know – thinkuknow.co.uk