The number of young people contacting Childline about child sexual exploitation rose by a third last year.
The charity, which works in conjunction with the NSPCC, delivered 3,122 counselling sessions to children and teenagers on the issue in 2016/17, up from 2,340 in 2015/16 with young people accessing the sessions by either ringing Childline, or contacting them online for a one-to-one chat.
Girls were more likely than boys to get in touch with the service about sexual exploitation, with the majority of contact being made by 12 to 15-year-olds.
Charity bosses said child exploitation involves manipulating young children into sexual activity, for example in exchange for gifts, money or affection.
It can include grooming, trafficking, sexual harassment or engaging in explicit activities online.
The rising figures will no doubt come as a blow to families in the region, echoing the dangers of online grooming which contributed to the tragic death of Ashby School pupil Kayleigh Haywood, 15, who was murdered by Stephen Beadman in 2015 when she was lured to the home of Luke Harlow who groomed her online.
Kayleigh's body was found in a field north of Ibstock, North West Leicestershire, on November 18, 2015.
The Measham teenager was bombarded with messages online from pervert Harlow who told the schoolgirl she was "beautiful and special" as they exchanged 2,643 messages over 13 days.
Harlow, who groomed her on Facebook, sexually assaulted 15-year-old Kayleigh at his flat and was later jailed for 12 years.
His neighbour Stephen Beadman was jailed for life for raping and murdering Kayleigh in nearby woodlands after she tried to escape from Harlow's flat.
NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless said: "Whether child sexual exploitation is happening online or offline, groomers will use the same devious tactics to manipulate and control young people so they can abuse them for their own pleasure.
"It can be incredibly confusing and difficult for children and teenagers to realise that they are being exploited, with some believing they are in a relationship with their abuser.
"Our Childline counsellors hear about the guilt and shame that young people feel, so it's vital that any young person in this situation knows they are not to blame.
"We want young people to know that Childline is there for them, whatever their worry, to answer any questions and offer support and advice."
Film of murdered schoolgirl Kayleigh Haywood scoops EIGHTH national award
A hard-hitting film about Kayleigh Haywood has won another national film industry award.
Kayleigh's Love Story, which was produced by Leicestershire Police with the full support of the teenager's family, has been viewed almost 40 million times worldwide.
It has now won the External Film of the Year award at the Event and Digital Communication Association Industry Awards.
The film beat competition from scores of other films made for the public and private sector during the last year and was also judged against live and event industry material.
Deputy Chief Constable Roger Bannister said: "Kayleigh's Love Story is a ground-breaking initiative of which Leicestershire Police can be truly proud.
"That's not because it's received so many awards - although it is hugely satisfying that the film industry itself recognises the quality and power of the film and I'm delighted that we have won this latest award from EVCOM - rather, it's something to be proud of because of the impact it is having, in making children and adults aware of the terrible dangers that can lie in wait when your children decide to speak to, and meet, people they meet online.
"In my 30 years' of service I struggle to think of anything the police service has produced, in terms of a film or campaign, which has reached so many millions of people and helped encourage victims to come forward.
"Affixxius Films of Loughborough, which produced the film for us, have produced a film of which they should be exceptionally proud.
"Leicestershire Police's communications and engagement directorate, whose idea it was to make the film, who supervised the production, and who have masterminded the roll out and marketing of the film, also deserve enormous credit for their contribution to the safety of children worldwide."