"The More You Know, The More You See" campaign was designed to raise awareness of the signs of Child Sexual Exploitation.
You can find out more about the campaign – and how you can recognise the signs of CSE – by following the link below and you can join in the conversation on Twitter using #knowthesigns.
I met Gary through Facebook when he came up as a suggested friend. I was 13 at the time and he told me he was 18. I added him as a friend and we started chatting, just having normal conversations.
I started to like him more and more as we got talking and the conversations became quite sexual and we arranged to meet up. I thought I knew a bit about him because he had told me his age and where he lived and sent me a picture, but I know now this was all lies as he was much older than he said and had used a photograph of somebody else.
I was usually really careful online as I have seen all the warnings about internet safety but I kind of just thought nothing would happen to me.
We arranged to meet at a hotel and when we met I realised straight away that something wasn’t right. I went along with things at the start because I really wanted to be in a relationship, and at first he seemed really nice.
We started having sex and although by that stage I knew he was a much older man I felt confused and trapped.
Eventually I told my mum what was happening and it was her who called the police. I didn’t want to tell the truth at first, but then I realised he could do the same thing to other people like me and I didn’t want that to happen.
I still use the internet but I don’t do anything like this anymore. I think some young people know how dangerous the internet can be, but there are still a lot who don’t.
My dad wasn’t around anymore and I never really got on with my mum, so I started spending as much time as I could out of the house.
I was 15 but my friends and I looked older, so we bought alcohol quite easily. I thought it was cool to be out drinking, and we’d spend most nights out on the streets together drinking cider.
Sometimes guys would come and join us. They were a lot older, but I liked the attention. There was one guy who’d come over quite a lot, and his friends told me he fancied me. I liked that someone so much older was interested in me, so I went along with it.
Then one night three of us were out, drinking outside a local shop. The guy pulled up in his car, and asked us to come back to his house. One of my mates wasn’t keen but another friend and I jumped at the chance. He had a flash car, so I figured his house would be pretty nice too.
He drove us around for a bit playing music and we were pretty drunk, then he pulled up outside a terraced house. He said it wasn’t where he lived, it was his mates and that his friends wanted us to come inside.
We went in and he took me into the living room with one of his mates, and he made me sleep with him. By this time I was scared and I didn’t want to – not in front of anyone else – but I was drunk and he told me I had too.
I was frightened, but I didn’t stop seeing him. He knew we’d be on the streets so him and his mates kept coming to find us, and I kept sleeping with him, and sometimes his friends too. It was only afterwards I realised I’d been used – he didn’t like me or think I was pretty, he just wanted to show off to his mates.
Eventually, I knew I didn’t want to live like this anymore. I plucked up the courage, told someone at school, and got help to change my life. Now I’m studying for my GCSEs with my friends. I thought I was cool and happy before, but I know I’m much happier now I’ve told my secret.
I started high school when I was 11 and instantly fell in with the wrong crowd. I met a lad who was two years older than me and started a relationship with him. Soon after I started smoking cigarettes and, a few months down the line, I began trying cannabis and then cocaine and ecstasy.
By the time I was 12 bubble had come out and, within six weeks, I was taking it every day and getting into a really big mess. I spiralled out of control really fast.
My mum left when I was little so I was just living with my dad, but I wouldn’t go home and see him for days. He kept reporting me missing, the police would find me, and then I’d leave again.
The people who I was hanging around with were in their 20s and they were not just around for a friend because of how young and vulnerable I was. I thought lying on my back was being loved but it’s not, it’s just being used and abused.
I was 12 and I ended up owing a £5,000 drugs debt and I stole thousands off my dad. I was in a lot of danger, doing things someone that age shouldn’t be doing.
One day I started getting stomach pains and had to go to hospital. The doctor there told me I had done so much damage to my body I would never be able to have children, which was a shock. But it wasn’t enough to stop me.
Without the police I would be dead in a gutter. They target these horrible people and lock them up, and it can be stopped.
These people don’t deserve to be walking the streets because they target young, vulnerable girls, and it’s awful.
I want to try and warn girls who think these people are their friends, they are not. I have moved away from home and started a new school where I’m studying for my GCSEs. If the police hadn’t helped me to do that, I don’t think I would be here.