#CSEDay18: Fighting Child Sexual Exploitation in the UK

By Global Fund for Children | March 14, 2018 | Europe & Eurasia | Freedom from Violence & Exploitation, Youth Empowerment

Our partner asphaelia action is dedicated to protecting and promoting the well-being of young people in the UK and abroad.

We asked Amanda Geary, Specialist Interventionist, to share about how asphaleia gives survivors of Child Sexual Exploitation a voice and helps to prevent future abuses. 

#CSEDay18, taking place on March 18, 2018, aims to raise awareness of the issues surrounding Child Sexual Exploitation, encouraging everyone to adopt a zero tolerance to adults developing inappropriate relationships with children and to children developing inappropriate relationships with other children. Think, spot, and speak out against abuse! You show your support on social media using #helpinghands and #CSEDay18.



© asphaleia action
At a recent workshop on healthy relationships, young people explored issues around consent and what constitutes abuse within a relationship.

The SAFE Kent project works to prevent all types of exploitation within Kent. We work primarily with unaccompanied, asylum-seeking young men who are newly arrived to the UK.

Alone, far from their communities, and struggling with cultural and language barriers, these young men face challenges on both sides of the law. They are particularly at risk of becoming perpetrators and engaging in criminal activity; they are also at risk of becoming victims of criminal or sexual exploitation themselves. Some of the program participants are in the UK because they have been trafficked for labor or sex.

SAFE Kent offers a program of workshops ‘SAFE and sound’ that aim to reduce risk of further exploitation or risk around potential offending.

During these workshops, we facilitate individual and group activities that reinforce rights and responsibilities in relation to accessing support, building resilience to resist negative influences, and playing an active role in keeping themselves and others safe in the community.

One of the key outcomes of the project is that unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and youth have a good understanding of healthy relationships and an improved understanding of how to live appropriately in the UK, thus reducing risk of committing a crime or engaging in anti-social behavior in the future.

Over the last few months we have held ‘Safe and Sound’ workshops twice a week at a hub in Kent. Supported by interpreters, the young people have worked in groups to learn about topics such as racism; emotions; exploitation and radicalization; staying safe online; healthy relationships, consent, British values; and UK law.

One young man, “BB,” had been trafficked from Vietnam. Through the workshops, BB gained a better understanding of UK law and how to stay safe in the community.

In addition to saying that he feels more confident in accessing assistance in the future, BB appreciated having someone to talk to. “I know you are interested in me. When we talk I can tell you care because you’re listening to me. You ask me lots of questions and make sure you understand. At first, maybe because of the language, you don’t understand … but you ask.”

Since August 2017 the SAFE Kent project has supported over 64 young men via ‘Safe and Sound’ workshops. A full 100 percent of participants are at a reduced risk of exploitation and have a greater understanding of what constitutes a sexual offence, potential ramifications of offending, and how to seek support if they are a victim of a crime when they are in the community.

© asphaleia action
Examples of young people's creativity and talent!

SAFE Kent also offers:

Weekly 1:1 mentoring tailored to the individual, enabling young people to talk freely to a ‘professional friend’ about how they feel and have someone listen in a safe and non-judgemental environment.

Educational workshops for local professionals involved in the care and wellbeing of unaccompanied, asylum-seeking minors, aimed at raising awareness around warning signs and indicators of exploitation (sexual, economic, and radicalization).

Kent police commented “…the content and style (of the UK Law workshop) are exactly what we were hoping would be delivered, and the mix of responsibilities and rights seemed well balanced.”

After a successful first year, we’re excited to be heading into next stage of our project. If you would like to find out more about the project, please contact me, Specialist Interventionist Amanda Geary [email protected]

Header photo is courtesy NWG Network, a network of thousands of practitioners that disseminate information to professionals working on the issue of child sexual exploitation and trafficking within the UK. 

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Global Fund for Children (GFC) UK Trust, created in 2006, is a UK registered charity (UK charity number 1119544). We work to generate vital income, create new fundraising opportunities, and raise awareness of the invaluable work of GFC’s grassroots grantees. Our aim is to extend the reach of GFC in the United Kingdom, Europe, and beyond.

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