Are they late or absent a lot?

Has your friend started staying out later or even overnight? Are they skipping classes or missing school altogether? When you ask them about it, do they get secretive or refuse to say where they’ve been and with who?

Are they behaving unusually around their phone or online?

Is your friend getting more messages or phone calls than usual? Do they have a new phone or unexplained credit? Are they spending more time online or have they got new adult friends? Or, are they avoiding their phone and going online altogether?

Are they regularly drunk or taking drugs?

Most young people experiment from time to time, but is your friend drunk a lot of the times you see them or taking drugs regularly? Do they seem to be able to get hold of drink or drugs more easily? Could someone be giving them the drink or drugs in order to make them behave in a certain way or make them less likely to say no?

Do they get lifts from people you don’t know?

Offenders sometimes offer their victims lifts to take them to the place where abuse will happen. Have you noticed your friend getting picked up or dropped off or heard them talk about going to new places in cars with people you don’t know?

Are they into different things?

Is your friend hanging around with a new crowd or person? Do they go to new or unusual places to meet these friends? Have they lost interest in the things they used to enjoy? It may just be that they’re enjoying new things but it could be sign that they are trying to fit in with people who are putting them into risky situations.

Has the way they dress changed?

They could just be trying out a new look but has your friend started dressing in a sexier way than normal? Have they said where they got the new clothes from or how they got the money to buy them? Do they talk about sex a lot more than they used to or know things you wouldn’t expect them to?

Do they have unexplained bruises or injuries?

Does your friend have bruises, marks or injuries that they can’t or won’t explain? Do they often visit the hospital accident and emergency department? Or are they refusing to go and get any help for the injuries?

Has their mood changed?

Does your friend seem different somehow – moodier perhaps, more secretive or angry? Or, do they suddenly want to be with you all the time as if they’re scared to be on their own?

Do they have new grown-up friends?

Is your friend hanging around with new, grown-up friends? Friends who have money to buy them things?

Are they being given gifts?

Does your friend have new, expensive things but won’t say where they came from or how they got the money to buy them? This could be things like new trainers, computer games, a mobile phone or jewellery. Does someone keep buying them food or cigarettes?

If you recognise any of these warning signs of child sexual exploitation and you’re concerned that something might be wrong,  find out what to do next.