NCA

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Woman suspected of trafficking 40 children into Heathrow as ‘ringleader’ of child sex smuggling gang arrested in Nigeria

Published April 1, 2015 by JS2

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A woman suspected of being a ringleader in a sex trafficking gang that used Heathrow to smuggle children into Europe has been arrested in Nigeria.

Police held Franca Asemota, 36, on suspicion of money-laundering offences in an operation co-ordinated by the National Crime Agency.

She is facing extradition to Britain, where she is wanted for organising a network that trafficked young women — most aged under 18 — from remote Nigerian villages into Europe using Heathrow airport as a transit hub.

The girls were promised education or jobs such as hairdressing in countries including France and Spain but were forced into prostitution.

Some were raped and the traffickers were said to have used witchcraft to terrify their victims so they would not talk to police.

Asemota, who was arrested in Benin City, is accused of accompanying about 40 victims on eight separate flights into Heathrow between 2011 and 2012.

A European arrest warrant was issued for her when she was thought to be in Italy but she is believed to have fled to Nigeria, where the NCA traced her.

The NCA said: “Asemota’s arrest was the result of exceptional collaboration with our partners at home and in Nigeria.

“This operation demonstrates our global reach and our determination  to track those wanted in the UK, no matter where in the world they are.”

A Nigerian member of the trafficking ring, Odosa Usiobaifo, of Enfield, was jailed for 14 years by Isleworth crown court in 2013 for conspiring to traffic for sex exploitation.

Last October David Osawaru, of Nigeria, was jailed for nine years for chaperoning two women in transit to Prague. He had been arrested by Border Force officers at Heathrow.

London Evening Standard

Police chiefs to meet author of report on council’s failure to tackle child sexual exploitation in Rotherham

Published February 25, 2015 by JS2

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South Yorkshire police chiefs have vowed to meet the author of a scathing report on Rotherham Council’s failure to tackle child sexual exploitation in Rotherham.

Louise Casey, tasked by the Government with examining how and why Rotherham Council failed to tackle the issue, has now suggested that South Yorkshire Police should face the same level of scrutiny.

Her inspection of the council painted a picture of a local authority in denial about how more than 1,400 children had been subjected to rape, violence and trafficking by gangs of mainly Asian men.

Ms Casey told a committee of MPs she ‘left no stone unturned’ in her inspection and believes South Yorkshire Police’s failure to deal with child sexual exploitation should be subjected to the same level of scrutiny.

“The police, South Yorkshire Police more generally, need to look at their failure to the victims of Rotherham, full stop,” she said.

“The police have to step up and accept the same level of responsibility to those victims and those perpetrators as the local authority.

“We were asked to inspect Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council and we left no stone unturned. It’s a pretty thorough and damning report. The same level of scrutiny has not happened to the police in Rotherham over that time.”

A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: “South Yorkshire Police officers engaged with Louise Casey and her review team throughout her inquiry and we have made a firm commitment to meet with her in the very near future to discuss her findings in further detail.

“South Yorkshire Police has referred a number of complaints to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

“We remain committed to assisting them with their independent investigation into any alleged misconduct.

“The National Crime Agency is carrying out an independent investigation into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham over the period covered by the Jay report at the request of Chief Constable David Crompton.

“The first stage of the investigation, called Operation Stovewood, is now underway.”

Paedophile Cases Unsolved Years After Tip-Offs

Published October 20, 2014 by JS2

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UK authorities come under fire as data shows hundreds of cases are still being investigated years after receiving intelligence.

British police forces are still investigating hundreds of cases involving suspected paedophiles more than two years after evidence was first passed to UK authorities.

Figures show that more than 200 suspects are still being investigated after details were first passed to the Child Exploitation Online Protection Centre (CEOP) by Canadian police in July 2012.

Among the 21 UK forces that were able to provide a detailed breakdown of the Canadian cases – which came out of an international sting operation dubbed Operation Spade – 271 are still ongoing.

The data, obtained by the Press Association, also showed that from 724 referrals, 34 people had been charged and five had accepted cautions.

Controversy was sparked when it emerged that the tip-offs included information about disgraced Cambridgeshire medic Myles Bradbury and teachers Martin Goldberg and Gareth Williams, who both secretly filmed children.

Goldberg, who worked at Thorpe Hall School in Southend, was found to have hundreds of images of schoolchildren on his computer when he was discovered dead at his Essex home, while Williams, from Cardiff, is now serving a five-year jail term.

Pete Saunders, from the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, criticised the authorities for failing to act quickly enough on the information.

He told Sky News: “People who access these kinds of images are a danger to children – the fact we’re doing nothing about it is the main concern.

“The other concern is it demonstrates once again that there are large parts of society, or authorities or institutions who simply refuse to believe or to accept the seriousness of the crimes that are in front of their eyes.”

Child protection expert Jim Gamble, who was chief executive of CEOP until he resigned in 2010, warned that similar delays could happen again.

He said: “These mistakes correlate directly to the lack of investment that has been made in child protection resources, especially in areas where the internet is involved.

“This Government clearly does not understand the issues, they allowed CEOP to wither on the vine.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “The NCA is currently leading an unprecedented operation against online child abusers in the UK.

“CEOP was brought into the NCA to ensure child abuse investigators have access to the agency’s extensive crime-fighting resources and global expertise, which includes officers in 40 countries around the world.

“The move has also strengthened CEOP by ensuring investigators have specialist support to draw on, such as the National Cyber Crime Unit.

“We will always ensure police and other crime-fighting agencies have access to the powers and resources they need to tackle child abuse in all its forms.”

zie video’s http://news.sky.com/story/1356353/paedophile-cases-unsolved-years-after-tip-offs

Senior investigators at the National Crime Agency, pictured, sat on the names of 2,345 suspects for at least 14 months, it has emerged

Published October 4, 2014 by JS2
  • How detectives let child porn suspects off hook: They sat on list of 2,300 paedophiles for 14 months – but did nothing Investigators at National Crime Agency sat on the names of 2,345 suspects 
  • By the time police forces got involved, little action could be taken 
  • The list of names was provided by Canadian police in July 2012 
  • Came after they smashed online store that specialised in indecent images
  • But NCA apparently left the file gathering dust until November 2013

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Senior investigators at the National Crime Agency, pictured, sat on the names of 2,345 suspects for at least 14 months, it has emerged 
Hundreds of paedophiles will escape justice because Britain’s crime agency failed to act on a cache of information.

Senior investigators at the National Crime Agency (NCA) sat on the names of 2,345 suspects for at least 14 months, it emerged last night.

By the time local police forces got involved, little action could be taken because of the time that had passed, and some of the suspects had even died.

The list of names was provided by Canadian police in July 2012 after they smashed a notorious online store that specialised in indecent images of naked children. Officers in Toronto identified thousands of potential paedophiles and passed the names to forces worldwide via Interpol.

But the NCA apparently left the file gathering dust until November 2013, when it passed it on to police forces. Even then some forces failed to act for months.

Many cases have now had to be abandoned because the information was simply out of date.

Bedfordshire Police said the ‘age of the intelligence and the timescale difference’ meant that in three cases magistrates refused to grant search warrants.

Hertfordshire Police said no action was taken against five suspects due to the ‘age of the offence and lack of supporting evidence’.

In West Yorkshire, 60 suspects were identified but none was arrested, even though further investigations were carried out. The force did not explain why. The failings were highlighted this week as it emerged paedophile Martin Goldberg, 46, a deputy head teacher at a boys’ school in Southend, was only visited by Essex Police last month, ten months after the NCA passed on his name from the list and more than two years after the Canadian inquiry, known as Project Spade.

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Teacher John Cowell, who was named on the list

Police and national crime investigators did nothing about a paedophile teacher for 18 months.

John Cowell, 60, from Essex, who had worked at a £26,000-a-year boarding school and as a school bus driver, was on the list of around 2,500 British suspected paedophiles identified by a Canadian inquiry and handed over to the UK’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre in July 2012.

The NCA only sent the names out to police forces in November last year – and Essex police then waited until January to visit Cowell at his home in Thaxted.

Last week, a court finally barred him from working with children in classrooms or on school buses.

Police found 228 indecent images and videos of young boys, aged 10 to 14, at the retired teacher’s home.

But Cowell, who pleaded guilty, walked free from court with a three-year community order.

He is the only one of 35 suspected Essex paedophiles identified by Canadian police to be convicted. Most remain under investigation.

Cancer specialist Myles Bradbury, who was found guilty of child sex offences last month, was not arrested for 16 months after his name was given to the NCA.

The revelations came as children’s charity the NSPCC said police are struggling to cope with the mountain of child abuse images they have to deal with.

Experts said they are ‘gravely concerned’ that some police forces do not have enough resources to investigate online abuse.

Doubts were also raised about the NCA. Critics said the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, the unit of the NCA that received the Canadian intelligence in 2012 and which was absorbed into the NCA when it took over in 2013, is also struggling to keep up with the flood of child abuse cases.

The failings are a huge embarrassment for the fledgling NCA, created by the Government as Britain’s answer to the FBI.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission said it is now assessing whether to launch a full inquiry – which would be the first the NCA has faced.

John Carr, a child safety expert and Home Office adviser, said police must act on sensitive intelligence when it is ‘fresh’.

This information needs to be fresh and police need to take action as soon as they possibly can to catch offenders

He said: ‘The whole reason for the existence of CEOP and the NCA is to handle and pass on information like this to local forces to act on.

‘I can only imagine it is the sheer volume of reports that is behind this, there cannot be any other reason as this is what they are there to do.

‘This information needs to be fresh and police need to take action as soon as they possibly can to catch offenders and safeguard children.’

A spokesman said one line of investigation is why the NCA did not refer the case to the watchdog in November 2013 when it first realised the CEOP unit had failed to pass on the list of names to police forces.

The NCA declined to comment on the latest revelations and instead referred to a statement that it had posted on its website three weeks ago.

Deputy Director Phil Gormley has ordered a review of how the material was handled by CEOP before the NCA took full control in October 2013.

Daily Mail

Rise in UK trafficking, slavery and exploitation

Published September 30, 2014 by JS2

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The Home Office ran TV adverts earlier this year to highlight modern slavery, including prostitution

The number of people trafficked for slavery or other exploitation in the UK has risen sharply to more than 2,700, the National Crime Agency (NCA) says.

The rise includes people lured to the country after meeting people via online dating or job recruitment sites.

Romania remains the most likely country of origin for victims, followed by Poland and the UK.

The NCA says trafficking does not have to involve crossing international borders.

Investigators say the rise is partly down to better reporting, including an increase in the number of children feared to be victims of sexual exploitation gangs.

False benefit claims

Overall, the agency says there has been a 22% jump in the number of identified suspected victims of trafficking between 2012 and 2013.

The 2,744 suspected victims, thought to be the tip of the iceberg, include 602 children.

The NCA says there has been a surge in reports of sexually exploited children – from 38 to 128 – in the wake of high-profile abuses cases in Rotherham and elsewhere.

Investigators also found cases of adults forced into prostitution, labour exploitation, domestic servitude, or compelled to commit crimes such as making false benefit claims.

Victims by country of origin
Romania 307
Poland 239
UK 193
Albania 192
Nigeria 158
Slovakia 143
Vietnam 138
Hungary 136
Lithuania 104
Thailand 89

More than half of the Romanians in the figures were being exploited for sex, according to the NCA’s annual intelligence assessment.

People from Poland were the most likely victims of labour exploitation – forced to work in agriculture, construction, factories and car washes.

Almost all of the 55 children who were being used to make false benefit claims originated from Slovakia, the report says.

The NCA says victims were being trafficked from Eastern Europe on the expectation of legitimate work which never materialised.

‘Marked with tattoos’

In some cases women travelled to the UK with men who they thought were their boyfriends – only to be coerced into prostitution.

Some victims had initially responded to online dating sites or job adverts.

The NCA report adds: “There is limited information available to suggest that traffickers mark potential victims with tattoos, with various symbols signifying ownership or to show that a victim is over 18.

“Information also suggests that victims may be marked with numbers, but the meaning of these numbers is not known.

“Various sources indicate that tattoos are used globally to mark victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation by traffickers and pimps, but the extent to which this is used in the UK is not known.”

Liam Vernon, head of the NCA’s human trafficking team, says: “Put very simply, you brand cattle – and that’s how traffickers view people, as a commodity to buy and sell.

“Human trafficking for the purposes of exploitation is an insidious and complex crime and much of the exploitation is hidden from view.”

Fear and control

Mr Vernon says trafficking has “nothing to do with crossing borders”, and any recruitment for prostitution, forced labour, slavery or servitude is exploitation.

Speaking about the British victims, he adds: “With UK girls, we see them groomed, we see them recruited, we see them moved around, we see them kept by gangs for sexual exploitation, gratification, or financial gain.

“For UK men, we see that happen, recruited by abduction, fear, controlled, for purpose of slavery, for purpose of labour.”

The government’s Modern Slavery Bill is currently before Parliament and expected to become law before the 2015 general election.

Ministers say it simplifies complex laws on exploitation and increases the maximum sentence to life.

The bill also proposes to ensure victims cannot be prosecuted for most offences committed while being controlled – and receive reparations from their abusers.

Labour says it will create a “specific offence of serious exploitation”.

It says this will make prosecutions easier and prevent the “undercutting of local workers and responsible businesses by the exploitation of low-skilled workers from Europe”.

BBC News