Our current professional discourses of sexual exploitation see young people as victims of child sexual abuse. Following government guidance, sexually exploited young people are supported through interventions co-ordinated by Local Authority Safeguarding Children Boards Department of Health/Home Office, 2000. However, no discourses are ever static or set in stone, and these too have their tensions. This article explores some of these tensions, questioning whether there are understandings of sexual exploitation that do not fit so comfortably within the child protection framework. It draws on a range of issues arising from research and practice, including research findings from case study work with 55 young women who were at risk of, or who experienced sexual exploitation Pearce et al., 2002. The paper suggests that some problems facing sexually exploited young people can be best addressed through interventions that draw on child protection, domestic violence and detached youth work policies and procedures.