Posted: 14 November 2015

What I am doing to fight child sexual exploitation

Our recent report Old enough to know better? reveals that 16 and 17 year olds are more likely than any other age to be victim of sexual exploitation.

However, they often do not receive suitable support  to escape exploitative relationships, recover from trauma or seek the justice they deserve.

We are appealing for help to double our support, to help 1,000 more children through our specialist services across the country.

Volunteers like Zak are already helping, raising important funds and educating the public about child sexual exploitation. Zak took some time to answer our questions about what he has been doing.

What inspired you to get involved with The Children’s Society?

As a Special Constable in Lancashire and a school governor I am very aware of the impact child sexual exploitation is having on our children. On learning and understanding more about the harsh realities that a lot of the young people are facing, I wanted to join the fight to help prevent child sexual exploitation, so I looked for organisations with similar goals and values as my own. I came across The Children’s Society and understood it to be at the forefront of supporting young people at risk of being sexually exploited, influencing policy and decision makers and campaigning to raise awareness of harsh realities.

I contacted The Children’s Society to offer my services as a volunteer. Soon after I became a Volunteer Corporate Ambassador.

What have you learnt while volunteering?

In my first few weeks Corporate Ambassador, I visited Street Safe in Lancashire  

I already knew child sexual exploitation was a huge problem, but I was shocked at the statistics. Project workers at Street Safe told me about the numbers of children affected.  

I was told stories of the many children who are subject to exploitation and abuse, but are too scared to tell anyone about it.  

Many children runaway and go missing as a result of sexual exploitation.  These vulnerable children are then at huge risk of being exposed to more exploitation or other dangers.  

This made me realise the need to fundraise for the crucial services that TCS provides that identify potential children at risk of child sexual exploitation or those that are experiencing/experienced it, in order to help free them from being greatly mistreated as soon as possible, and supporting them thereafter.

How have you helped our work around child sexual exploitation?

I realised there was a gap in the vast majority of the public’s awareness regarding the subject.  Many didn’t realise it happens on such a large scale. 

I wanted to take on the task of making people aware of the crisis, and how they can help.

I do this by visiting businesses, speaking with organisations and the general public in order to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation and the work the The Children Society is doing.

Alongside raising awareness I seek potential donors; ensuring the vital effort of the The Children Society continues and grows.

What has been your highlight of volunteering?

My proudest achievement to date is solely organising and hosting a black tie charity dinner attended by over 200 people.

Guests included the Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire Lord Shuttleworth and Lady Shuttleworth, Deputy Lord Lieutenants, Mayors, Members of Parliament, as well as a considerable number of prominent local organisations and businesses.

I am very happy to have raised £2,500 on the night to directly fund The Children’s Society’s efforts in tackling child sexual exploitation, and I hope to continue raising more huge amounts in the future.

By Zak - Guest bloggers

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