A hooded teenager leaning against a wall on a dark street

Child sexual exploitation

All children and young people should be kept safe and protected from abuse, neglect, harm and exploitation.

This is a right enshrined in legislation and all adults have a part to play in preventing children and young people from experiencing such harm.

Here you’ll find information and resources to help protect children, wherever you are in Scotland.

What is child sexual exploitation?

CSE is a form of child sexual abuse involving someone in a position of power forcing or enticing a young person under the age of 18 to take part in sexual activity in return for something – this could be money, gifts, accommodation, affection or status.

Like other forms of abuse, a child or young person could be unaware of what’s happening. Regardless of any notion of consent, it is child sexual abuse.

Sexual exploitation can take place in many different ways. It could be in person, online or a combination of both and can include children who are trafficked from within the UK or abroad.

CSE has a devastating and long lasting effect on children and young people. It often leads to a range of physical, mental and emotional health and wellbeing issues throughout their lives.

How you can help

We all have a part to play in preventing CSE. You can help by knowing what to look out for and by sharing your concerns about a child or young person. If you’re worried about a child or young person, please share your concerns.

We want to hear from you

If you have information and resources you’d like to share here, please email celcis@strath.ac.uk

Child sexual exploitation resources

National responses

National responses in Scotland to child sexual exploitation.

Local responses

A range of child sexual exploitation resources in towns and cities across Scotland. 

Discover Child Protection Committees where you are

Aberdeen City



Argyll and Bute

Clackmannanshire and Stirling


East Ayrshire

East Dunbartonshire

East Lothian and Midlothian

East Renfrewshire





North Ayrshire

North Lanarkshire

Perth and Kinross

South Ayrshire

West Dunbartonshire

Western Isles

West Lothian


Resources and organisations which support effective responses to child sexual exploitation, plus support for those directly affected by child sexual exploitation.

Online resources


Nightwatch materials

County lines


Research and reports

Some key research and reports relating to child sexual exploitation are listed below.

Useful organisations