‘I’m Being Exploited’ is a powerful short film by the Northamptonshire Safeguarding Children Partnership (NSCP), produced in conjunction with police and partners across Northamptonshire.
The film aims to raise awareness to parents of a growing issue in the UK – known as ‘Child Exploitation’ (CE).
Child Exploitation is when a child or young person is targeted by an individual or criminal gang and manipulated or coerced into committing crimes or sexual acts.
This new film seeks to help parents and other trusted adults spot the signs of a problem and highlight the crucial part they can play by taking appropriate action.
Child exploitation can involve bribery, intimidation, violence and/or threats. The child does not need to have met whoever is exploiting them – children can be exploited via the internet or using mobile phones. They can also be targeted on social media platforms and gaming forums.
People who exploit children use the fact that they have power over children, because of an age difference or some other factor like gender, intelligence, strength, status or wealth. A child may have been exploited even if it looks as if they have been a willing participant.
Evidence shows children are more likely to open up to an adult they have an existing and trusting relationship with. This can include parents, grandparents and extended family members, teachers or other school staff, sports or leisure coaches and community leaders.
We can all potentially make a difference to the safety of a child by knowing the signs to look out for. Some of the common signs shown in the film include changes in ‘normal’ behaviour, increased messages or calls, and having new belongings or money that can’t be accounted for.
Other signs include:
- Being away from home more and being in places they wouldn’t usually be
- Spending time with older people
- Committing Anti Social Behaviour / low level crime
- Changes in emotional wellbeing
- Unexplained injuries
- New and expensive possessions
- Deterioration in school performance or going missing from school
- Having more than one phone
Parents are encouraged to watch the film and consider if a child’s change in behaviour could be due to exploitation. If something doesn’t feel right, it might not be.
If you think someone you know might be being exploited, there are people you can talk to who can help. Contact Police on 101 or 999 in an emergency. Or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. You can also contact NSPCC 0808 800 5000.