Barnardo’s is raising awareness of how young LGBT people can be sexually exploited and of the problems that they face in the hope of improving child protection provision.
Media coverage of child sexual exploitation issues has mostly focused on heterosexual girls and young women targeted by men, but knowledge on why young LGBT people may run away from home is often poor.
Barnardo’s has released a report showing how young runaways are at risk of being sexually exploited.
41 young people were interviewed for the report, 10 self-identified as gay, 1 as bisexual and 1 as uncertain about his sexuality.
Some of the boys and young men interviewed mentioned difficulty in exploring their sexuality with other like-minded young people, leading them to seek out relationships online where they then got into difficulty.
The report recommends that professionals working on child sexual exploitation improve their understanding and reach with LGBT young people.
Barnardo’s also suggests that awareness-raising takes place within LGBT communities to improve understanding of young people at risk of sexual exploitation.
One of the interviewees for the report, Ben, spoke about his experiences on camera.