The definition of exploitation is ‘the act of treating someone unfairly for personal gain.
Sexual exploitation can be defined in several ways because it takes place in many different forms.
Loosely, it can be defined as the sexual abuse of a child or young person through the exchange of sex or sexual acts for the receival of drugs, food, shelter, protection, gifts, money or something else desired by the young person (i.e. attention or affection).
Sexual exploitation includes involving the young person in sexting and creating pornographic images and videos.
We know that sexual exploitation takes on many forms, from the seemingly ‘consensual’ relationship where sexual activity is exchanged for attention, affection, accommodation or gifts, to serious organised crime and trafficking of young people.
What is important to highlight here, is that sexual exploitation occurs when there is an imbalance of power within a relationship.