Our leaders with responsibility for keeping our children safe in our communities are continuing to abdicate responsibility and are relying on children to protect themselves.
Yesterday another gang of men was found guilty of abuse, rape and prostituting girls in Aylesbury. But the Director of Children’s Services in Buckinghamshire said – “We know a great deal more about Child Sexual Exploitation now, I hope young people…will have the same courage to come forward.”
We cannot put the responsibility on young people to come forward! Abuse and slavery is manipulative and messy. You cannot rely on victims to be able to process objectively what is happening to them and then know how to respond appropriately to raise a disclosure!
It is interesting that in the Bible, one of the problems Moses had in getting the people of Israel free from slavery in Egypt was that they wouldn’t listen to him ‘because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery.’ (Exodus 6:9) If as a society we care about children who are at risk of being sexually exploited then we must take responsibility for the problem. Whoever you are you can equip yourself and those around you to be able to spot the signs that a child or a vulnerable adult may be being abused.
At the very least you can read this brief overview from the NHS which includes things you can do to prevent exploitation before it even happens. The NSPCC has more information here. Don’t assume that other people are doing something about this. You could be the person who spots the signs that a child in your street, school, church, family, or anywhere, is being exploited.
Our children are children – we should take responsibility for protecting them.