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Sexual Exploitation (Adults)

Adults can be sexually exploited in many ways. Examples include:

  • Rape (which can include rape by a partner, if the sex is unwanted – no means no, with no exception)
  • Sexual assault
  • Being tricked or manipulated into having sex or performing a sexual act
  • Being trafficked into, out of, or around the UK for the purpose of sexual exploitation (i.e. prostitution)
  • Being forced to take part in or watch pornography
  • Being victim to revenge porn (when a previously taken video or photograph, which was taken with or without consent, is shared online)

Who can be victim and who can be a perpetrator?

Anybody could be a victim of sexual exploitation, rape or sexual assault. While a majority of victims are women, men can also be victim.

The following are especially vulnerable:

  • Victims of domestic violence and abuse
  • Drug and alcohol abusers
  • Homeless people and those with limited or no immigration status
  • Nightlife / weekend party goers
  • Adults with physical, learning or mental disabilities
  • Victims of forced marriage

Anybody could be a perpetrator of sexual exploitation, rape or sexual assault.

Commonly, perpetrators include:

  • Partners* – boyfriends/girlfriends or husbands/wives
  • Family members
  • Gang members (organised traffickers or drug gangs)
  • Drug and alcohol abusers
  • Illegal minicab drivers

*There’s often a misguided belief that a partner cannot be a rapist. However, no means no and there are no exceptions.

Signs that an adult may be victim of sexual exploitation, rape or sexual assault:

  • Demonstrating signs of domestic violence and abuse
  • Becoming alcohol dependent or user of drugs
  • Showing signs of change in behaviour and emotions
  • Testing positive for sexually transmitted infections
  • Their passport or identity documents taken away by gang members
  • They have been subject to a forced marriage

Where to go for help if you or someone you know may be victim of sexual exploitation, rape or sexual assault:

Victims, especially long-term victims of sexual exploitation can suffer from serious health problems, including mental, physical and sexual health issues.

There are a range of services available in Wandsworth:

Hestia Independent Domestic Abuse Advocacy 020 3879 3544:

An independent and confidential advocacy service for all victims of domestic abuse in the borough. The crime does not have to be reported and an incident does not have to have recently taken place to access the service. More information can be found here: Hestia Independent Domestic Abuse Advocacy.


If an adult is in immediate danger call 999 immediately, or contact 101 for Police non-emergencies.

The Metropolitan Police Sapphire Unit deal with complaints of sexual assault and rape. They have specially trained officers to deal with such cases. Contact 101 for more information. 

Wandsworth Council:

You can make a referral to Wandsworth Adult Social Services Access Team: 020 8871 7707  (or 020 8871 6000 after hours) or e-mail

If you have any questions please contact the Community Safety Division at Wandsworth Council on 020 8871 6437

For more information please visit:

Metropolitan Police Sapphire Unit

National Crime Agency (Trafficking)

Stop the Traffik

Here are some specialist charities that can help those that have suffered from or are suffering sexual exploitation, rape or sexual assault:

For women in the sex industry:

Beyond Support
Helpline: 0800 1337 870

For victims of rape or sexual assault:

Rape Crisis
Helpline: 0808 802 9999