A project to inform children and young people on how to avoid sexual exploitation has been launched in the aftermath of harrowing BBC drama Three Girls.
The programme portrayed the shocking Rochdale child sex ring case. And now, in response to an issue that has been under the national microscope, Aberdeen-based charity Alcohol and Drugs Action has unveiled The Green Light Project.
The scheme, funded by Comic Relief, aims to educate and support people up to the age of 25.
The project will include educating young people on safer and smarter use of social media, and will also provide training to parents and professionals.
Sexual exploitation happens when someone takes advantage of an imbalance of power and gets a child or young person to engage in sexual activity in exchange for something such as money, drugs or shelter.
Luan Grugeon, chief executive at Alcohol and Drugs Action insists that child sex exploitation can lead to youngsters developing issues including drug and alcohol addiction later in life, which is why the charity was keen to launch the project.
She said: “We know that child sexual exploitation can lead to young people developing a whole range of problems as they grow up.
“This includes problems with alcohol and drugs to cope with the trauma they have experienced. I am really pleased that we are able to launch this project which will prevent and protect young people from being sexually exploited in the local area.”
Hannah Bennet, a young person’s worker delivering the service, added: “I am really excited to be a part of this new service. It is so important to keep raising awareness of child sexual exploitation, especially because this form of abuse can happen entirely online now.
“We need to make sure we are keeping up with technology and protecting young people from the risks posed by an increasingly connected and accessible world”.