Detectives believe they have smashed a child trafficking gang preying on runaways as young as 11 for Britain’s sex trade.

Thirteen men were arrested in Oxford by police investigating claims 24 vulnerable girls under 16 were groomed for rape.

Officers suspect gang members targeted children in care or living rough and transported them around Britain over a six-year period.

Amid fears more children may be involved, patrols of officers took to the streets of the university city to hand out public awareness leaflets.

Thames Valley Police said nine men – aged between 21 and 37 – remain in custody and are being quizzed over a string of offences including causing the prostitution of females under the age of 18, administrating drugs for the purpose of rape, trafficking, grooming and rape. Four men, aged 23, 31, 34 and 37, were released on bail until April 19.

Police became aware of the allegations after a number of girls were reported missing. More than 100 officers took part in raids as the force executed 14 warrants across the city as part of an operation named Bullfinch.

Police were not willing to comment on the nationalities of any of the suspects but sources said many of the offences centred in or around the Oxford area.

Many of the alleged victims were said to have been “known” to children’s services. Mr Mason, speaking later at the force’s city headquarters, said the inquiry was still at an early stage.

Much of Thursday’s activity was centred near St Aldates police station in central Oxford. More than 40 uniformed officers and community support officers were handing out A5 flyers about the operation.

Police chiefs also posted a video on YouTube to reassure community members and urge any potential victims to come forward.

Operation Bullfinch – Oxford

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsB0TUOfsHs

Oxford Child exploitation investigation – update

Thames Valley Police together with Thames Valley and Chiltern CPS can confirm that 6 men have been charged tonight (23/3) in connection with Operation Bullfinch, an investigation into child exploitation in Oxford.

The men have been remanded in custody and will attend Magistrates’ court tomorrow  (24/3).

A 26 year-old man has been charged with ten counts of engaging in sexual activity with a child.

A 30 year-old man has been charged with one count of conspiring to rape a child, and one count of arranging prostitution of a child, and one count of trafficking.

A 31 year-old man has been charged with three counts of rape and one count of conspiring to rape a child, and three counts of arranging the prostitution of a child, one count of making a threat to kill, and one count of trafficking.

A 37 year-old man has been charged with two counts of conspiracy to rape a child and one count of supplying a class A controlled drug to a child.

A 32 year-old man has been charged with one count of rape.

A 26 year-old man has been charged with four counts of rape and two counts of arranging the prostitution of a child, and one count of making a threat to kill.

Three other men who were arrested in connection with the investigation have been released on police bail until 12th April.

Four other men were released on police bail pending further enquiries yesterday (22/3). The men, who are aged 23, 31, 34, and 37, were bailed to return to a police station on the 19th April.

The joint investigation, being carried out by Thames Valley Police and Oxfordshire County Council’s Children, Education and Families Department, is aimed at rescuing potential victims and securing convictions of suspects believed to be responsible for these crimes.

At this time we will not be confirming the names of those charged.

Advertisements