These may be warning signals. These don’t mean CSE is taking place, but if you are concerned the situation should be closely monitored and any suspicions reported:


  • Young person with older adults
  • Drinks bought for the young person
  • Dressed to appear older/excessive make up
  • Overly sexualised language or behaviour
  • Truanting from school
  • Binge drinking
  • Appear out of control
  • Adults appear to have control over young person
  • Works in various locations
  • Has limited freedom of movement
  • Appears malnourished
  • Does not have money but has a mobile phone
  • Withdrawn and appears afraid of authority figures


If you are concerned or suspicious of your customers' behaviour and routines, note descriptions of persons/clothing/vehicles and report to the police


How might this impact on your business?


In addition to having a serious impact on the welfare and safety of children, sexual exploitation is a crime and if it happens at, or is associated with, your business it may cause serious financial and reputational damage.


What you can do to protect children and your business?


It may help to protect your business if you can demonstrate that all reasonable steps have been taken to manage risk.

Here are some suggested safeguarding measures to help evidence ‘due diligence’ and keep children safe:


  • Undertake a written children and young people’s risk assessment and use it to inform your operating policy and staff training.
  • Staff should be trained to recognise indicators of child sexual exploitation and know how to report concerns.
  • Staff training records should be maintained, including induction and refresher sessions.
  • Records should be signed by the trainer and trainee and dated.
  • Activity at the premises should be monitored (for example using CCTV or by regular patrols. Patrol records should be maintained.)
  • Suspicious activity should be reported to the police (including details such as vehicle registration numbers, description of individuals) and should be recorded in your incident log.
  • Staff should adhere to a Code of Conduct to promote good safeguarding practice
  • Employment records should be maintained for all of your staff including photographic identification, national insurance number, proof of permission to work in the UK, references.


You can help disrupt and stop abuse by:


  • Making your staff aware of and how to recognise the signs of CSE and let them know who to report any suspicions they may have.
  • Monitor activity at your premises – for example are children coming in with adults they don’t seem to be related too?
  • Display Listen to my Story campaign materials
  • Report any suspicious activity to the police – including descriptions and licence plate numbers. Keep an incident log of this activity


Further information:


Download the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) guide and useful information about sexual exploitation by clicking here.


If you are worried about a child you can report this in a number of ways:


  • You can make a report by calling Merseyside Police on 101
  • You can anonymously call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 to make a report
  • If your life or the life of the child/young person is in immediately danger, dial 999.