CSE Advice for Hotels and B&Bs
Any young person could become a victim of child sexual exploitation; the crime affects both girls and boys, from any background and of any ethnicity. Boys and girls may be trafficked for sexual exploitation. Child trafficking includes the movement of children on the way to the UK as well as domestically within the UK, between different areas.
Evidence shows that hotels and B&Bs are often used as locations to meet, groom and abuse children.
As a result, hotels and B&Bs are in a unique position to help. Everyone has a duty to act if they suspect a child is being sexually exploited.
Exploited children are almost always too terrified and ashamed to ask for help themselves. Receptionists, managers and housekeepers are in a valuable position to notice when someone or something seems suspicious or all may not be right with young guests.
By passing your concerns on to the police, you could potentially save a child from being exploited and abused.
Trust your instincts. If you're concerned, tell the police.
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It's never the child's fault
CSE is a crime that can affect any child, anytime, anywhere, regardless of their social or ethnic background. CSE can be carried out by individuals, by street gangs or by groups. It can be motivated by money or by sexual gratification. But in all cases, there is an imbalance of power - vulnerable children are controlled and abused by adults or by other children.
The grooming process
Perpetrators gain control over children by grooming them, this can be in person, via mobiles or online, offering excitement, drugs, alcohol, gifts and affection. At first, this control may take the guise of 'romance' or 'friendship'.
But once a child does something - even something really small - that they know they might get 'in trouble' for, they become vulnerable to blackmail. As the exploitation gets worse, terrifying threats and violence may be used to keep children compliant. They are sexually exploited not just by the original perpetrators but often by many other abusers.
It's a trap
Exploited children are trapped because they often believe the abuse is their own fault - they fear they will be blamed or punished if they tell anyone what is happening. They are ashamed of what they are forced to do and are scared they will not be believed.
In many cases, children believe they are in a loving relationship with their exploiter. What's more the perpetrator will do everything they can to isolate children further by convincing them that their families do not really understand or love them.
The trafficking of children (under 18) includes all forms of child trafficking within and on the way to the UK, as well as the movement of children domestically within the UK, between areas or even within the same area. Children are most commonly trafficked to be forced into labour, domestic servitude and for child sexual exploitation (CSE). Sexual exploitation victims are primarily from the UK.
As with adult victims, child victims are forced or coerced under verbal or physical threats to them or their families, but with an additional level of vulnerability due to their age.
There are warning signs that may indicate something is wrong. If you know what you're looking for, you can take steps to help them.
What to look out for (during the daytime and at night)
Young guests (either girls or boys) under the age of 18, who:
- are taken into a hotel room by one or more adults who do not seem to be family members
- are staying in a hotel room which is visited or requested by a number of additional adults
- get a taxi to a hotel or other venue to meet adults who do not seem to be family members
- stay out late with older adults who do not seem to be family members
- are bought alcoholic drinks by adults although the young person is already intoxicated
- are in the company of adults who are known or suspected of being involved in adult prostitution
- are being bought food or drinks by an older adult whom they seem to see as a boyfriend/girlfriend
- seem to be involved in sexual activity with one or more adults who is significantly older than they are
- seem to be involved in sexual activity even though you know or suspect they are under 16
Adult guests who:
- try to hide the fact that they are with a young person or seem secretive
- are reluctant to use a credit card and prefer to pay cash
- ask for an isolated room or don’t want the room cleaned or visited
- check in under a different name to the booking
- walk in or book at the last minute
- enter and leave regularly at unusual times
- arrive and ask for a room number but don’t know the name of the person staying there
- have no luggage or ID
In a room where under 18s are staying:
- a pre-paid bar tab
- numerous adults and young people coming and going
- use of porn channels
- lots of condoms and condom wrappers
- drug paraphernalia (syringes, wraps, pipes, spoons, plastic bags, etc) and evidence of excessive alcohol consumption
Say something if you see something.
Make a note of your information and report it to the police on 101. Dial 999 if you believe the young person could be in immediate danger.
Don’t hesitate. Your information, however small it may seem, can help us build a bigger picture.
You should also:
- raise your concerns immediately with your manager or other senior staff, who may have specific procedures for child protection concerns
- let young people know how to get help, for example by putting up information about children’s helplines or local services
- tell the police and your local council about any general concerns in relation to CSE.
Always tell someone about any concerns you might have about children at risk or suspected offenders. Never assume someone else has passed on the information you have. Duplicate information is better than none.
Watch the film from Barnardo’s below, which shows how front line workers in the night time economy can play an important role in helping keep young people safe from sexual exploitation. The night time economy can provide a network of eyes and ears within the community after dark.