What Is Child Sexual Exploitation?

Child sexual exploitation occurs when a child is coerced or manipulated in some way that often leads to sexual activity. Often, the child is promised some type of benefit, such as a gift or money. Other times, it may be with the promise of affection or status. What is critical for individuals who are victims and their families to know is that child sexual exploitation can occur when they least expect it. More so, there is help available from a California child sexual abuse attorney at The Senators Firm, LLP.

Can a Child Consent to Sex?

One of the cornerstones of proving child sexual exploitation is to fully understand the circumstances. There are situations in which a child may be fooled into believing they are in a positive, consensual relationship. However, this process, called grooming, aims to take advantage of them over time. The abuser may be someone the child trusts and does not realize they are being hurt by, yet, as children, they cannot consent to this type of behavior.

What Are the Types of Sexual Exploitation of Children?

Numerous child sexual exploitation methods exist, and all of them carry severe injury to the victim. They can happen in person or online. Typically, they begin with an abuser who aims to gain the trust of the child or, in some way, tries to control the child, whether through blackmail or through violence. Ultimately, this leads to the onset of sexual abuse in some form.

It does not have to take long for these risks to develop. Some of the most common ways that sexual exploitation like this occurs include the following:

  • Sending sexually explicit images of themselves
  • The abuser may post images of themselves to social media or websites and direct a child to them
  • They may provide a film or stream sexual activities for the child to watch
  • They may discuss sex in a variety of formats.

Over time, the abuser grows more confident and will begin to take advantage of the child in various forms. They may use pressure against friends or family. They may make videos or take photos of the exploitation and threaten to use them. Other times, physical control can be used to exploit an innocent individual.

Sexual Exploitation Can Occur Among Children

There are some gangs that make the sexual exploitation of children a component of their initiations. Other times, peers may force these types of acts to occur. There are many ways that perpetrators can use power or control to force a person to engage in sexual relationships with them or to exploit them in public.

In any situation where there is some level of sexual exploitation occurring, it is critical to seek emotional trauma counseling and support for the victim. Many times, they do not know they are the victim. In all cases, this will create a long-term burden on their mental health and overall well-being.

Parents and other family members should seek out law enforcement for these types of crimes as well. Doing so could protect your family member from ongoing abuse and pain.