In their words
The following are quotations from a project young people did to help train other professionals in how to work with sexually exploited young people. They are from girls and boys aged 13-17 who were supported at BASE in 2013.
"I was scared and running, hoping to leave my past behind but it always creeps up on you. The person who is in it [sexual exploitation] aint going to spot it because they don’t know what it is themselves. I didn’t have clue before but they [perpetrators] talk you round. They buy you nice things or they buy you tobacco or take you in off the streets and say they are there to help you but they’re not. Things happen to you when you don’t want them to happen to you but you can’t say know. BASE explain it to you properly. They go through it so they have a proper understanding of things."
"Working with BASE has helped me a lot with my relationships and my life problems. BASE doesn’t focus on getting you better in a limited amount of time BASE focuses on the right sort of help for you so they don’t force on they way they help, they help you in the way you want the help. Every child is different and they need different types of help which BASE offers not like other places. BASE has to pick up the pieces that the other people makes me feel."
"When I was 13 I met this guy. He used to take me to a playing field – he seemed nice but he wasn’t. I liked that he was older, everybody wanted to be with him and I thought ‘wow he chose me’ and then I realised why… I started at BASE because of the older guy but it’s been more than that. When bad things happen I have nowhere I can be angry but I know my BASE worker will stick around whatever I say – she stays. It’s taken me a few years for me to be able to even talk to her about the stuff that really matters. In that time I’ve had so many carers and workers but BASE have always been there. Recently I’ve done this amazing thing and walked away from the gangs. Most services don’t work for people like me, there’s just been more places, more people and more change, but I’m still at BASE – working with the same worker doing my stuff."
You can hear clips from other Barnardo’s young people here. Sexual exploitation stories
"I’m not just another casefile to them. They are actually interested in me. They chat to me as a person and can chat to me on a personal level and I feel more comfortable talking about the issues I need to talk about with them. I can go there and don’t feel like I need a major problem to go there. It makes me feel welcome – it’s like going somewhere safe."