Offenders access social media platforms; for example, Facebook, Blackberry Messaging (BBM), What’s app and Twitter, to identify young people whom they can groom.

Technology can facilitate sexual exploitation of children. Where abusive images have been posted on, or shared via, the internet, there is little control over who can access them. This can lead to repeat victimisation.

GPS technology available for mobile devices can be used to identify the location where a photograph was taken using co-ordinates which reveal the location to just a few metres away.

CSE can occur through the use of technology without the child realising it. For example, a child or young person is persuaded to post images of themselves on the internet and/or mobile phones.

In some cases, the images are subsequently used as a bargaining tool by the perpetrators and threats of violence and intimidation are used as methods of coercion.

Offenders may use technology to exploit children and young people in the following ways:

  • Harassment and bullying through text messaging.
  • Purchasing mobile phones for victims and sharing their numbers among group or gang members.
  • Randomly contacting children via social networking sites.
  • Using ‘friends’ lists on networking sites of known victims to target children and young people.
  • Viewing extreme or violent pornography and discussing it during sexual assaults.
  • Posting images of victims with rival gang members to invite a sexual assault as punishment.
  • Filming and distributing incidents of rape.
  • Distributing Blackberry PIN numbers for lists of girls labelled as ‘easy’.

Find out more about E-Safety.

Report child sexual exploitation to the police by dialling 101. If you or a young person you care about is in immediate danger, dial 999.


If you are concerned about a child in Essex call Social Care (Family Operations Hub) on 0345 603 7627 (out of hours 0845 606 1212).


For reporting concerns about on-line sexual exploitation


CSE Toolbox

For professionals who work with children, young people and families, when they have concerns about child sexual exploitation

(this includes access to the CSE Risk & Vulnerabilities Assessment)