Police launch child sexual exploitation campaign after startling number of cases referred in Cambridgeshire in past two years

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Cambridgeshire Police have launched a month-long campaign to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation.

The campaign comes after a freedom of information report found that 216 cases have been reported in Cambridgeshire in the past two years.

Between April 1 2013 and March 31 2014, 82 children – 66 girls and 16 boys - were referred in relation to child sexual exploitation.

Additionally, from April 1 2014 and March 31 2015, 134 children – 76 females and 58 males - were referred.

“Child sexual exploitation is a form of child abuse in which the victim is given something in exchange for sexual activity with the abuser,” a police spokesman said.

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“It is a crime that can affect girls and boys, anytime, anywhere, regardless of their background or culture.

“However, it often goes unnoticed with some children and young people believing they are in a loving, consensual relationship.”

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Last year, police in the county received 140 reports of child sexual exploitation.

Detective Sergeant Kath McCready from the Child Sexual Exploitation Team hopes the awareness campaign will help victims, their friends, relatives and carers recognise this type of behaviour as abuse and report it to police or partner agencies.

She said: “Child sexual exploitation often goes unnoticed but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.

“The sad reality, as our figures demonstrate, is that there are vulnerable children in the county being groomed and abused.

“We need to educate and make young people aware of this type of exploitation so that we can help them make the right decisions about relationships.”

For further information and support visit www.cambs.police.uk/GetCloser/ChildSexualExploitation

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