Police raising awareness of child sexual exploitation

Police are highlighting the work they are doing to keep young people safe in a bid to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation.

Lancashire Constabulary is running a week-long campaign to increase people's understanding of the issue; so that together we can prevent child abuse, help victims and bring offenders to justice.

The force says it is one of the leading constabularies in the country for its approach to tackling child sexual exploitation.

Detective Superintendent Ian Critchley, head of public protection for Lancashire Constabulary, said: "Sexual exploitation is a form of abuse where young people are forced or manipulated into sexual activity.

"The abuser may groom the young person into trusting them - this can be done face-to-face or online - and they then exploit this trust for their own gain.

"Sometimes they may get the young person to engage in sexual activity by giving them attention, treats, alcohol, drugs or a place to stay; sometimes they may manipulate the young person into believing they are in a consensual relationship and that they love them.

"Either way, the young person is being taken advantage of through this controlling behaviour; it is child abuse and the victims face huge risks to their physical, emotional and psychological health."