Five Indicators of Young People at Risk of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)

Investigating a troubled child or a case involving a sexually abused young people often trigger enormous responses from parents and the affected society at large. Under such circumstances, most have the potential to blame the victim-child.

Nonetheless, there are numerous early pointers, some of which are weighted below that parent, guardians, social workers and the community must be conscious of that widely exposed young people to CSE.


1. Going Missing

Confronted with a strict disciplinarian, or difficult or abusive stepparents or biological parents, young people are compelled to runaway from home. After having experienced ceaseless pains under the arms of those that are expected to protect them, these young people believe the next option is to go far away to where they can find peace. This runaway attitude occurs also with immature girls facing being married off forcibly into early child marriage. When they go missing, they are regarded as feral, promiscuous and rejected by their society. Consequently, these young people now on the streets are further exposed to sexual assaults such as rape and they risk being trafficked into forced child prostitution.


2. Peer networking/association with ‘risky’ adults

Many young people consider mingling with adults render them mature and respected compare to when they befriend their age mates. In this context, they can be precise. However, there are dangers in commingling with duplicitous grown-ups whose intention is to manipulate their vulnerabilities through grooming these young people into all forms of sex trading, instilling in them a hatred for their parents, and encouraging them into unsafe lifestyle activities.


3. Gifts/possession

Immature people think the gifts they receive as sort of accumulating prospective wealth. How they come in possession of those expensive gifts, which often range from cash, costly wrist-watches, mobile phones, key-rings, earrings, handmade handkerchief, hair bow, et cetera have to be questionable. From school to home, parents are strongly encouraged to scrutinize, to probe their children on the provenance of those gifts. Most of these gifts originate from sly male neighbours, schoolteachers, complete strangers or pimps on the lookout to recruit young girls into prostitution.


4. Changes in temperament

Changes in behaviour sometimes signify the potentiality of a young person at risk of CSE. What prompts a bright, cheerful young woman to lose her joyous self? Many times this is accredited to the possibility of her experiencing bullying at school or as a result of issues at home. Nevertheless, when these changes persist into habits like sudden outburst of anger, locking herself for hours or days in her room, constant silence and long staring, smoking drugs in hidden places, withdrawing from communicating with people even her family members, self-inflicting, etc., are all indicators of a possibility of CSE.


5. Disinterest in Formal Education

Frequent absenteeism at school and never at home is a strong indicator of CSE among young people. Immediate attention is needed to confront the issue. Other young people might just drop out of school under flimsy excuses such as being not too suitable for education or not the right way to gain money quickly. Young people who are seeing some of their dropout age mates or girlfriend in possession of expensive things might assume leaving school is the best option.



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