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Some common signs of child exploitation include:

  • Missing from home, during the day or at night

Children and young people may start going absent from education or home, and not disclosing where they’re going or have been.

  • New places

A child or young person may start spending time in new places to which they have no obvious connection.

  • Injuries

Unexplained cuts, bruises or burn marks and reluctance to seek medical attention.

  • Online behaviour

Children and young people being exploited may start spending more time online and being secretive about their online activities. They may distance themselves from friends, family and usual activities.

  • Change in appearance

A change in clothing, hygiene or the way they talk.

  • Coping mechanisms

Exploited children may start using coping mechanisms such as alcohol, drug use or self-harm to help them cope with their situation.

  • Change in behaviour

Secretive, aggressive, fearful or withdrawn; displaying antisocial behaviour and distancing themselves from family and friends.

  • Change in friends

A sudden change in who they‘re hanging out with, including new people they’ve met online.

  • New possessions

The appearance of unexplained new possessions, particularly things that the child or young person would be unlikely to afford themselves, such as new clothing, technology, drugs or money.