Child sexual exploitation: recognition, response and support

Published: 6 Nov 2014

Author: Danielle Amann
Child sexual exploitation: recognition, response and support

Danielle Amann, a project worker from Newcastle, travelled across America for four weeks to research child sexual exploitation (CSE).

In her current role for the Children’s Society’s SCARPA project she works with young people who are at risk or involved in CSE, and was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to develop her understanding of how young people can be best supported.

Her travels took her to New York, California, Washington DC and Georgia where she was able to visit a variety of services who offer support to young people, shape policies and procedures, investigate cases of CSE and lobby for change in legislation.

Child sexual exploitation is a major child protection issue across the world. Hidden from view and often unnoticed, vulnerable girls and boys are groomed, abused and exploited, leaving them traumatised and vulnerable.

Danielle said “I work with victims of CSE every day and see the struggles young people face to leave abusive relationships and lead a healthier lifestyle. Working for a project which enables me to offer help and support is an honour but I wanted to see whether there are other projects out there that have alternative approaches in helping young people to reach their full potential.”

Despite visiting a variety of successful support services who share Danielle’s passion for helping young people she found that, as with the UK, there were many barriers to overcome. Many professionals feel that the issue of CSE is still a fairly hidden one and that more training and awareness raising is need to ensure that it is recognised and responded to in a fair and supportive way. This is something the USA particularly struggles with as the laws around prostitution mean that young people are often criminalised and punished rather that supported in a nurturing way.

However whilst visiting the British Consulate General Danielle also found that the UK and USA have a strong bond and can learn from each other to promote positive change.

Contact Danielle: danielle.amann@childrenssociety.org.uk