Out of the twilight world into a blaze of publicity - it is the hidden crime which is suddenly making the headlines.
Now police in Lancashire have launched a high-viz campaign to combat child sexual exploitation.
All this week the county’s constabulary will be working hard to raise awareness of a problem highlighted by recent shocking cases in Rotherham and Rochdale.
Officers will be involved in a range of educational and operational activities, focusing on prevention, awareness, enforcement and community engagement.
The programme will include visits to schools and care homes where officers will explain the importance to children and adults of recognising the signs and risk factors involved in exploitation.
Posters and contact cards for teachers, parents, carers, taxi drivers, sports coaches and youth leaders will be distributed to encourage professionals working with children to know what to look out for, with the key message that it is a very serious offence that can affect any child, anytime and anywhere regardless of their social or ethnic background.
Officers will be attending known hotspots, monitoring licensed premises and carrying out warrants across the whole of the county.
Det Supt Sue Cawley, head of Lancashire Police’s Public Protection Unit said: “At a time when the media spotlight is upon child sexual exploitation, we are working hard to show that we have learnt lessons from the past and that we are listening to victims, treating them with sensitivity and respect and that we do take their allegations seriously.
“We are determined to stop children being abused and exploited; to prevent harm to those being abused and to help them get out of the exploitative relationship they are in; to bring to justice to all those who commit such abhorrent crimes and to ensure that the public are confident to come forward when they require our help.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw added: “Here in Lancashire we have an excellent record when it comes to addressing the issue of CSE but, despite this, it remains a very real problem within our communities.
“It is not something we can afford to be complacent about.”