Definition: Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a type of child abuse where a young person is encouraged or forced to take part in sexual activity in exchange for something...

This video is part of a series created by young people supported by the Barnardo’s BASE Project and in partnership with Avon & Somerset Police & Crime Commissioner. The young people bravely shared their experiences of child sexual exploitation (CSE) in order to raise awareness of the crime and prevent the same thing from happening to others.

CSE: explained

People who commit child sexual exploitation often ‘groom’ their victims over a period of time in order to gain their trust. Later, when the behaviour of the abuser starts to change, the young person is likely to feel trapped, isolated and scared.

Many children are too frightened to come forward, or don't realise they are being abused. They may suffer in silence for years without anyone to talk to about what they’re going through.

Child sexual exploitation is an issue that affects young people from all backgrounds and communities right across the UK, often out of sight and behind closed doors. It can happen to both boys and girls, and can occur online or offline.

What we do

Barnardo’s has worked with sexually exploited children and young people for more than 20 years, providing specialist services across the UK. We actively identify and reach out to those at risk in the community, offering them the long-term support they need.

We help people like 14-year-old Maisie*, who started talking to an older man online. Over a period of time, the man befriended Maisie, making her feel like he cared for her, paying her compliments and buying her gifts.

Maisie CSE support

Maise CSE how you can help

Maisie truly believed this man was her boyfriend, but when he arranged to meet in person, he drove her back to his flat and abused her.

It took a long time to help Maisie see that this man wasn’t in love with her and that she wasn’t to blame for what happened. Now we’re slowly helping Maisie to put the past behind her so she can grow in confidence and heal from the pain of this ordeal.

What you can do

Barnardo’s simply cannot support the growing number of children affected by CSE without your help. By donating today, you’ll help change the lives of children who are exposed to exploitation, fear and abuse across the UK every day.


Your donation will allow us to help children like Maisie to escape and recover from their abuse so they can begin to look forward to positive and happy futures.


Spread the word

Make your voice heard. Select one of the icons below, share this information, and help us put an end to CSE.

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*Maisie's story is true. However, we have changed names and images to protect the privacy of the children we help. Donations will be used to fund areas of our work where the need is greatest.