Exploitation and Trafficking

Exploitation and Trafficking


Exploitation is the deliberate manipulation, coercion, deceit, exertion of power and control over someone to acquire personal gains or advantage at the expense of the victim’s well-being, rights, or dignity. Children and adults can be exploited.

Exploitation can manifest in various forms such as:

Child exploitation

Child Exploitation

  • Child Labor: Forcing children into work that is exploitative, hazardous, or interferes with their education and development.
  • Child Trafficking:This involves moving children within the UK or internationally for forced labour, gangs, county lines, or sexual exploitation, which often involves coercion, abduction, or deceit.
  • Sexual Exploitation: Occurs when a child is coerced, manipulated, or deceived into sexual activity (contact and non-contact) for the benefit of others. The child might be rewarded by giving them what they need or want but this does not make them any less a victim.More information about child sexual exploitation is available via the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Safeguarding Partnership Board.

Financial exploitation

Taking advantage of people’s trust to exploit their finances by way of fraud, theft, misappropriation of funds and scams.

Online exploiation

This involves using digital platforms to bully, harass, intimidate, and manipulate others into complying to the perpetrator’s demands. Young people can be exploited sexually and emotionally online.


Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, coercion, threats, manipulation to get people forced labour or commercial sexual purpose. It can happen to anyone and usually hidden in plain sight. Traffickers often target people because of vulnerabilities such as emotional/psychological vulnerability, economic hardship, immigration status, social isolation and lack of safety nets around individuals.

Signs of human trafficking

  • The person appears disconnected from family, friends, community organizations, or houses of worship.
  • A child stop attending school.
  • A sudden or dramatic change in behaviour.
  • A child who is engaged in commercial sex acts.
  • The person has bruises in various stages of healing.
  • The person fearful, timid, or submissive.
  • The person shows signs of having been denied food, water, sleep, or medical care.
  • The person is often in the company of someone to whom he or she defers? Or someone who seems to be in control of the situation, e.g., where they go or who they talk to.
  • The person appears to be coached on what to say.
  • Is the person living in unsuitable conditions?
  • Does the person lack personal possessions and appear not to have a stable living situation?
  • Does the person have freedom of movement? Can the person freely leave where they live? Are there unreasonable security measures?