LSCBLocal Safeguarding Children Board Northamptonshire

Child Exploitation

Preventing the exploitation of children in all its form is a key priority for the Northamptonshire Safeguarding Children Partnership.

Children that come to notice must be treated as children, whatever the circumstances they find themselves in.

Here you will find out what we mean by Child Exploitation and links to a number of resources we have produced to assist you.

We have developed a simple definition of Child Exploitation that can be easily understood by eevryone and is used across our material around CE. Below you will find this and then expanded definitions of the individual areas of CE.

Northamptonshire CE Definition

Child Exploitation is a form of child abuse which occurs when someone takes advantage of a child for their own or others profit or gain. It can take different forms. This includes:

  • Child criminal exploitation – when a child is coerced, manipulated or pressured to take part in criminal activity
  • Child sexual exploitation – a type of sexual abuse where a child is coerced, manipulated or pressured into sexual activity

Exploitation can be hard for a child to recognise and they may not understand that they are being coerced/groomed.

Criminal Exploitation including Gangs and County Lines.

Northamptonshire utilises the definition of child criminal exploitation provided by the Home Office:

“Child Criminal Exploitation occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, control, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into any criminal activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants and/or (b) for the financial or other advantage of the perpetrator or facilitator and/or c) through violence or the threat of violence. The victim may have been criminally exploited even if the activity appears consensual. Child Criminal Exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology.”

Sexual Exploitation

Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator. The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology.

Modern Slavery and Trafficking

Modern slavery is a form of organised crime in which individuals including children and young people are treated as commodities and exploited for criminal gain. Traffickers and slave drivers trick, force and/or persuade children and parents to let them leave their homes. Grooming methods are used to gain the trust of a child and their parents, e.g. the promise of a better life or education, which results in a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment.

The term Modern Slavery captures a whole range of types of exploitation, many of which occur together. These include but are not limited to:
Sexual exploitation – This includes but is not limited to sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, forced prostitution and the abuse of children for the production of child abuse images/videos.
Domestic servitude – This involves a victim being forced to work in predominantly private households, usually performing domestic chores and childcare duties. Their freedom may be restricted and they may work long hours often for little or no pay, often sleeping where they work.
Forced labour – Victims may be forced to work long hours for little or no pay in poor conditions under verbal or physical threats of violence to them or their families. It can happen in various industries, including construction, manufacturing, laying driveways, hospitality, food packaging, agriculture, maritime and beauty (nail bars).
Criminal exploitation – This can be understood as the exploitation of a person to commit a crime, such as pick-pocketing, shop-lifting, cannabis cultivation, drug trafficking and other similar activities that are subject to penalties and imply financial gain for the trafficker.
Other forms of exploitation – Organ removal; forced begging; forced benefit fraud; forced marriage and illegal adoption.


Radicalisation happens when a person's thinking and behaviour become significantly different from how most members of their society and community view social issues and participate politically. Only small numbers of people radicalise and they can be from a diverse range of ethnic, national, political and religious groups.

As a person radicalises, they may begin to seek to change significantly the nature of society and government. However, if someone decides that using fear, terror or violence is justified to achieve ideological, political or social change—this is violent extremism.

This is not the same as someone just expressing their point of view. Everyone has the right to express their beliefs and group interests openly. However, it becomes a concern to everybody, including families, communities and law enforcement, if a person begins to advocate or use violence to achieve a political, religious or ideological goal.


Child Exploitation Guide

Child Exploitation Risk Assessment Framework (CERAF)

Please click here to view a complete list of resources on each of the subjects above.

Last updated: 30 November 2023

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