module specification

SS7146 - Sexual Exploitation of Children and Young People (2024/25)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2024/25
Module title Sexual Exploitation of Children and Young People
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 200
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
164 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 40%   Annotated Bibliography - up to 1,800 words in total
Coursework 60%   Essay - 3,000-3,500 words in length
Running in 2024/25

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Summer studies North Week All day

Module summary

This module focuses on the sexual exploitation of children and young people in the UK and also looks at forms of sexual exploitation in the Global South. On this module, you will be introduced to debates about definitions, policies and legal frameworks as well as key feminist debates on the ethics and practice of researching sexual exploitation. You will learn about specific forms of sexual exploitation around the world including online harms, image based sexual abuse, early/forced marriage, transactional sex, peer on peer abuse and sex trafficking.

You will also learn about varied contexts for sexual exploitation such as the sexualisation of popular culture, religious values and institutions, local authority care, gang-association, and sex tourism. You will be offered an introductory session on what the research evidence tells us about abusers and coercers. You will be encouraged to think critically about effective disruption, protection and prevention especially in relation to the criminal justice system, child protection systems and new practice developments. Throughout the module you will be asked to attend to intersecting axes of power and how these might impact or shape the experiences and barriers for minoritised children, boys/young men, neuro-divergent children and children with a range of disabilities and working-class girls. Where the conversation is about the Global South, you will be asked to consider the specific impacts for minorities within those countries.

Prior learning requirements


Available for Study Abroad? NO


Definitions and framings [LO 1, 5 & 6]
The historical emergence of child sexual exploitation as a UK policy concern.
Government and other policy / practice definitions of child sexual exploitation and its relationship with a) child sexual abuse and b) adult sexual exploitation.
Divergent feminist perspectives on the sex industry and ways to tackle adult sexual exploitation as well as the links with pornography and the sexualisation of popular culture.

‘Continuums’ and ‘conducive contexts’ [LO 2, 3, 5 & 6]
Historical ‘models’ of sexual exploitation and specific forms including online harms, image based sexual abuse, trafficking, transactional sex, early/forced marriage, sugar daddies, devdasis, bacha bazi, and djinn / witchcraft abuse.
UK and international contexts including local authority care, technology facilitated abuse, religious institutions/networks, gangs & social networks, pornography industry, and sex tourism.

Researching Sexual Exploitation [LO 4 & 5]
Methodological approaches.
Creative and participatory research methods for engaging children and young people as partners in research.
Ethical issues for researching sexual exploitation and for research with children and young people.
Possibilities and limitations of the existing evidence base.

Policy and practice responses [LO 5,6,7]
International obligations: human rights obligations and national policy agendas.
Criminal justice and safeguarding frameworks.
Effective and specialised support services.
Innovative approaches including contextual safeguarding.

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

This module is delivered over 6 days, 10am-5pm, two days at a time, three times over the teaching semester. A structured programme of interactive lectures and expert guest lectures provides the framework for teaching and learning.  Small group seminars tied to online reading materials and recordings (available through the virtual learning environment) offer students the space to digest and reflect on key learning from the module. Two workshop spaces also give students an opportunity to understand the assessment requirements and gain feedback on their choice of topic. Students may obtain further guidance on plans for their annotated bibliographies and their essays through email contact and bookable 1-to-1 tutorials. To support students with disabilities, lecture slides and recordings are available in advance through the virtual learning environment and we work with the library to ensure that as much of the material is available as e-books or internet downloads as possible.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module students will be able to:

1. Define child sexual exploitation and understand the range of perspectives on sexual exploitation and the sex industry.

2. Identify the various forms of sexual exploitation of children and young people.

3. Describe the contexts for sexual exploitation, and child sexual abuse more generally.

4. Understand methodological and ethical issues for conducting research in this area.

5. Draw on the research evidence to evaluate different perspectives on sexual exploitation.

6. Apply an intersectional lens to draw out the specificities for minoritised and marginalised children and young people.

7. Learn about legal frameworks and approaches to prevention.


Child Abuse and Neglect: the international journal, Amsterdam: Elsevier.
Child Abuse Review, Oxford: Wiley Blackwell.
Children and Society, Oxford: Wiley Blackwell.
Hypatia: a feminist journal of philosophy, Oxford: Wiley Blackwell.
International Journal for Crime Justice and Social Democracy, Brisbane, Australia: Crime and Justice Research Centre, School of Justice, Faculty of Law, Queensland University of Technology.
The British Journal of Social Work, Oxford: Oxford Journals.
The Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, Binghampton, NY: Haworth Press.
The Journal of Sexual Aggression, London: Brunner-Routledge.
Women’s Studies International Forum, Amsterdam, London: Elsevier.
Violence Against Women: an international and interdisciplinary journal, Thousand Oaks, London: Sage.

Centre of Expertise on Child Sexual Abuse
Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit http://
Child Exploitation and Online Protection
Contextual Safeguarding Network
ECPAT International
The International Centre: Researching Child Sexual Exploitation, Violence and Trafficking
MSUNDERSTOOD and IC short films for practitioners
National Working Group for sexually exploited children and young people
Nordic Model Information Network
Parents Against Child Sexual Exploitation (formerly known as the Coalition for the Removal of Pimping (CROP)
Prostitution Research
Space International (Survivors of Prostitution-Abuse Calling for Enlightenment)
The Children’s Society

Electronic Databases:
Academic Search Complete
Care Knowledge
Lexis Library
Oxford Journals Archive
Sage journals online
Science Direct
Social Care Online
Web of Science