It can be difficult to believe that people that are nice to you, might be doing so to take advantage of you. They might buy you things, including alcohol or drugs, they might listen to your problems, take you to great places, be there for you, and they might give you a place to stay when you’re having problems. They might be nice to your friends and family too.
If what you are being asked or forced to do makes you feel uncomfortable or worried in some way and somehow feels wrong then it probably is.
Anyone who persuades you to have sex with them or other people, or encourages you to post sexual images of yourself via text or on the internet, in return for the things that they have given you, such as drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, money, food, accommodation or affection, is sexually exploiting you, even if you don’t always feel like they are.
Sexual exploitation can be hard to recognise because often it feels like that you are in a good relationship with the person – or people – who abuse your trust in them. It could be that you are exploited by a friend, or group of friends, or someone you think of as a boyfriend or girlfriend, or it might be a person or a new group of people you’ve only just got to know, either in person or online.
Trust your instinct. If it doesn't feel right it's not.
Remember that whatever is happening to you isn't your fault and there is help available.
Where can you find help?
Being in a relationship and thinking about having a sexual relationship is normal, but sexual exploitation is not normal and is a form of abuse.
If you are worried for yourself or a friend, please talk to an adult you trust. Remember: if you are in any danger or feel unsafe, get in contact with the police immediately on 999.
If you would like to talk to someone in confidence you can contact:
An independant Leeds-based organisation. Their expert help and support is confidential and free.
Call: 07710 304308
You can use the helpline if you’re thinking about running away or if you have already run away from home and need help and advice. They can help you get a message back to your parents to let them know that you’re safe. All contact is confidential, and they can’t find out where you are unless you choose to tell them.
You can text them even if you have no credit left on your mobile phone.
They will talk to you in confidence to explain your options and try to get you the help you want.
Call or text: 116 000
Their advisers are trained to help with any problems that you’re having at home that are making you think about running away.
Calls to ChildLine are completely confidential and free, even if you call from a mobile phone.
Call: 0800 1111
The Market Place
They offer a drop-in for young people 13 -25 years old with immediate support on any issue that is affecting them and provide a safe space for young people to talk. Open 7 days a week.
Leeds Sexual Health
The Leeds Sexual Health service provides sexual health advice, support, testing and treatment for all. This confidential, non-judgmental service provides specialist for young people around a range of issues including CSE.