Child Sex Exploitation and the law

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 introduced a range of offences that recognised the grooming, coercion and control of children.

These include:The Law

  • arranging or facilitating a child sex offence (child under 16)

  • meeting a child following sexual grooming (child under 16)

  • paying for the sexual services of a child

  • causing or inciting child prostitution or pornography

  • controlling a child prostitute or a child involved in pornography

  • arranging or facilitating child prostitution or pornography

  • trafficking into, within or out of the UK for sexual exploitation.

The act also includes three broad categories:

  • sexual activity with a child under the age of 13 is an offence regardless of consent.

  • sexual activity with a child under the age of 16 is an offence regardless of consent unless the defendant reasonably believed that the victim was 16 years or over.

  • There are a number of sexual offences in the act that apply to all children under the age of 18 including where there is an abuse of a position of trust, familial child sex offences and the use of children in the sex industry.