Child Exploitation

See The Bigger Picture

Child Exploitation occurs when an adult takes advantage of a person under 18 and manipulates, forces, coerces or traps them, into sexual activity or to commit crime, often in exchange for something the victim wants; money, alcohol, drugs, presents such as clothing or mobile phones, or could simply be for love or affection.
Children and young people can be exploited anywhere, but these locations are particularly common sites where you may be able to spot the signs:
  • Public transport
  • Hotels
  • Taxi and ride shares
  • Petrol/service station
  • Fast food outlets, cafes and shopping centres

Warning Signs

Look out for the warning signs of child exploitation:
  • Travelling alone, particularly in school hours, late at night or frequently.
  • Looking lost or in unfamiliar surroundings.
  • Young people who look concerned or frightened in the company of adults.
  • In possession of more than one phone and/ or receiving lots of calls.
  • Carrying lots of cash.
  • Potentially under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Accompanied by individuals who are older than them, perhaps behaving inappropriately with them.
  • Spending time in adult spaces such as hotel bars.
  • Adult hotel guests who appear secretive about their visit or trying to conceal that they are with a young person.
  • Numerous adults and young people coming to the hotel who do not appear to have a reason for being there or high levels of visitors to a guest room.
  • Adults putting a young person, who may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, into a taxi.
  • Young people being picked up and taken to hotels, particularly at odd times of the day and night.
If you are concerned about a child you can report online at or dialling 101 (or 999 in an emergency or if a crime is in progress). If you would rather remain anonymous, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
For more information, please visit the Surrey Police website .