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4.4 Children Involved in Prostitution

1.1 The Sexual Offences Act 1992  (as amended) covers the sexual exploitation of children and young people up to the age of 18, through prostitution and pornography.  It is an offence to pay for sex in money or in kind with a child or young person 18 years and under.  It is also an offence to cause or incite child prostitution or pornography, control a child prostitute or a child involved in pornography, and arrange or facilitate child prostitution or pornography. The Act also includes an offence of administrating a substance with the intent of committing a sexual offence.
1.2 Children and young people involved in prostitution should be viewed as victims of abuse, and primary legislation should apply. See also Safeguarding Children Involved in Prostitution (UK guidance) (DH May 2000).
1.3 Looked After children and young people may be particularly vulnerable to this form of abuse and exploitation and staff and carers need to be aware of the signs and indicators that this form of abuse is likely to or is occurring.

When there is evidence or a suspicion that a child or young person is at risk of or is already involved in prostitution a referral should be made to Social Services. See Referral to Social Services Procedure for more information. The safeguarding procedures should then apply, and a Strategy Meeting convened. In addition to the standard agenda (see Strategy Discussions/Meetings Procedure, Process for a Strategy Discussion), the Strategy Meeting should consider:

  • Whether the child or young person is reluctant or fearful of engaging with professionals, either as a result of threats, or influence from those who abuse and exploit them;
  • Whether substance misuse may be a contributory factor to the abuse and exploitation;
  • The specific strategies that may be required to assist the child or young person to leave the abusive environment;
  • The possible risk to any other young people.
1.5 All enquires involving child prostitution must be notified to the Safeguarding Children Board who have a responsibility to enquire into the extent to which children are involved in prostitution on the Island.
1.6 Primary law should be used in regard to abusers. If the prosecution of an offender requires the evidence of a young person who has been involved in prostitution, then attention must be paid to their safety and welfare, including the possible need to move him/her and to the confidentiality of the information. This may require the close co-operation of the Police, Victim Support and other agencies.
1.7 Where there is suspicion that an adult is involved in organising the prostitution of or paying for sex with, a child or young person and they are themselves parents of children, then an assessment of the needs and risks to those children should be considered.