sexual exploitation

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170 child sexual exploitation referrals made in Doncaster this year

Published December 7, 2014 by misty534


A total of 170 referrals have been made to the town’s child sexual exploitation team since the beginning of the year, according to new figures released by Doncaster council.

In January this year, Doncaster set up a new multi-agency Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) team, made up of social workers, police, health and child care experts, to do more together to tackle CSE.

The team has been focussing on three key areas of work – prevention of exploitation, protection of children and young people and pursuing offenders.

Since January 2014 and until last month, the number of referrals where concern was raised around CSE was 170.

Of these, 123 have been dealt with and closed, 47 are active and being investigated.

67 per cent of the referrals were originated by the police, 25 per cent by social care and the remaining eight percent from health, schools/colleges or other sources.

Both the police and agencies are disrupting and prosecuting perpetrators and using legal powers to prevent contact with potential victims through on the spot visits to properties and warning notices. This year there have been 15 criminal prosecutions for CSE offences.

The work of the CSE and that of the Doncaster Safeguarding Children Board (DSCB) is highlighted in a report to Doncaster Council’s Children and Young People’s Overview and Scrutiny Panel.

The panel will hear next week that there have also been more than 200 training and awareness raising sessions held for professionals, young people and their parents around CSE since the start of the year. This included advice on staying safe on line and identifying abusive relationships. Every secondary school in the borough now has a trained Child Exploitation and On-line Protection (CEOP) ambassador who has been trained by the CSE team.

Young people themselves are also being asked on how they would want to be involved in combatting CSE and raising awareness with their peers and the wider community.

This work forms part of DSCB’s three-year CSE strategy, published in 2013, which is regularly refreshed and part of an ‘assurance review’ by the independent chair of DCSB.

The ‘assurance review’ was undertaken in the light of recent national reports and the important recommendations from the Jay inquiry into CSE.

John Harris, DSCB’s independent chair, is author of the ‘assurance review’. He said the board regularly assessed its response to CSE as part of its safeguarding work to help keep children safe and well in the borough. It is a normal part of any safeguarding board’s work to do such a review when important reports are published.

“It is vital that we assess where we are at any given time and recent events in Rotherham have given us another opportunity to do so. We’ve held a mirror up to ourselves as a multi-agency board in how we are tackling child sexual exploitation in Doncaster,” said Mr Harris, who has been the independent chair since January 2014.

“It was right that we do this. Whilst we are not complacent and know there is more that needs to be done to tackle this serious issue, we know we have made real improvements in the last 12 months, including how we work together as a team of agencies and with the local community to ensure CSE is at the top of everyone’s agenda. The nature of this particular abuse is under-reported in Doncaster as indeed it is nationally but what is clear is that we must all remain vigilant. ”

DSCB has also set up a CSE and Missing Children group to focus on targeted work to tackle key areas such as working in the community, early identification, children in care and awareness raising.

Children and Young People’s Overview and Scrutiny Panel chair, Cllr Rachel Hodson, added: “Keeping our children safe and having effective measures to tackle child sexual exploitation are absolutely vital. This assurance review gives us a realistic health check on where we are as a borough, the improvements that have been made in 2014 and what we need to continue to focus on in the future.”

Child sexual exploitation “social norm” in parts of England

Published November 3, 2014 by misty534


British Home Secretary Theresa May speaks during the College of Policing Conference in Coventry, central England

Sexual exploitation of children has become a “social norm” in some English neighbourhoods, fuelled by explicit music videos and near-pornographic images that are increasingly viewed as normal, a report said on Thursday.

The report by a member of parliament was commissioned after a 2012 sex grooming scandal in the northern town of Rochdale in which nine men were jailed for plying girls with alcohol, drugs and gifts before forcing them to have sex with numerous men.

The case “exposed the systematic rape of children and levels of depravity that shocked the nation,” according to Ann Coffey, the report’s author, and was followed by similar sex trafficking scandals in Derby, Telford and Oxford.

The cases coincided with a spate of media reports on historic child abuse by ageing celebrities and Catholic priests, prompting questions in the country of 53 million about why the abuse was not prevented and victims not identified sooner.

“Young people are still too often being blamed for being a victim,” Coffey said in a statement as the report on the Greater Manchester region in central England was released.

“The age of consent in this country is 16 and adults who prey on children under that age are always wrong. Unless we get a change in public attitudes it will be difficult to protect children.”

She said the attitude of some police, social workers, prosecutors and juries could explain why in the past six years there had been only 1,000 convictions out of 13,000 reported cases of major sexual offences against under-16-year-olds in Greater Manchester, a region covering Rochdale.


Coffey’s report detailed the pressure girls feel, from unwanted attention and touching by older men in the street to social media where a proliferation of sexualised images has led to greater expectations of sexual entitlement.

One schoolgirl in Greater Manchester said she was approached by a man who started touching her ear.

“Can you not see I am a little girl? I am in my uniform,” she told him.

Another girl Coffey met described a man taking hold of her friend from behind and stroking her hair.

“It’s got to the point where men come up and touch us and try and get us into cars. It’s too much,” she said.

“I have been concerned about the number of people who have told me that in some neighbourhoods child sexual exploitation had become the new social norm,” Coffey said in the report.

“They say there is no respect for girls: gangs of youths pressurising vulnerable young girls (including those with learning disabilities) for sex, and adults allowing their houses to be used for drinking, drug taking and having sex.”

Coffey said many children are still being preyed on every day and that there were 260 ongoing investigations into child sexual exploitation in Greater Manchester alone.

In 2012, a body set up to promote the rights of children in England said that at least 16,500 children a year were at risk of sexual exploitation by gangs and groups. It identified the use of mobile phones, social networking sites and other forms of technology as tools for abusers to groom victims.

Coffey said child sexual exploitation had a huge impact on the physical and mental health of children and should be declared a public health priority, like alcohol, drug taking and obesity, so that a more strategic approach could be developed.

Cornwall’s police and council tackling child sexual exploitation in wake of Rotherham abuse

Published October 15, 2014 by misty534


AGENCIES in Cornwall are working to tackle child sexual exploitation in the wake of the scandal in Rotherham which has hit the headlines in recent weeks.

Authorities in Rotherham were criticised in an independent report for failing to protect 1,400 children aged between 11 and 16 who were groomed and abused by gangs.

Cornwall Council’s Cabinet member for children and young people, Councillor Andrew Wallis, told fellow members last month that work was being done to identify and prevent child sexual exploitation (CSE).

He said: “I can give assurances that we are doing everything we can within our powers, in partnership with Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, to detect possible child sexual exploitation and to take robust action where there is evidence of it.

“While I cannot give total assurances that child sexual exploitation does not exist in Cornwall, I can give total assurances that if such abuse came to light, we would take immediate and robust action in conjunction with out police partners. We would not seek to deny or minimise it, as appears was the case in Rotherham. We would not stand by and do nothing as appears to have been the case in Rotherham.”

Devon and Cornwall police and crime commissioner Tony Hogg has also asked the police to review its handling of CSE cases.

A spokesman for Mr Hogg said: “Until we have completed internal work we must assume that the risk exists that there could be a ‘Rotherham’ here, as there could be anywhere.

“Mr Hogg has asked Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer to examine our response to these issues and to provide him with assurance.”

He added: “Mr Hogg is keen to encourage all members of the public and any group to report all incidents of this nature for full investigation.”

He said Mr Hogg expected to see Mr Sawyer’s report this month.

Simon Carpenter, chief executive of the Truro-based Children Linked to and Experiencing Abusive Relationships charity, which was recently awarded government funding through a bid by Mr Hogg, said: “We will use the funding to support all our work but most importantly, in the current climate, the money will support our service against children’s sexual exploitation which is going to be very new to Cornwall but also I think it’s going to bring all sorts of things out into the open.”


‘Key towns’ identified for child sexual exploitation in county

Published October 15, 2014 by misty534


Hemel Hempstead has been identified as one of the ‘key towns’ for child sexual exploitation in Herts.

The town ranks alongside Stevenage and Watford as problem areas for the cruel practice, which can include abduction, sexual activity and even prostitution of minors.

Dacorum has represented 7% of all police referrals in the county in cases relating to possible child exploitation – with a total of 10 in the period from April 2013 to September of this year.

The Hertfordshire Constabulary Halo team – dedicated to stamping out the cime in the county – received a total of 140 referrals requiring varying degrees of further investigation to identify victims and offenders.

While some cases would have been subject to no further action as it was revealed no exploitation had taken place, to date 13 offenders in the county have been charged with a total of 52 offences during the same period.

The crimes ranged from child abduction to sexual activity with children and paying for the sexual services of a child.

Chair of Hertfordshire’s Safeguarding Children Board Phil Picton explained child sexual exploitation is an issue which affects towns and cities across the country, but said: “In Hertfordshire, Hemel Hempstead, Stevenage, Watford, Welwyn and Hatfield are our bigger towns and therefore understandably feature as key areas where cases may happen.

“Across the whole county, the Board and its partners have worked hard over past years to encourage those who work with children to identify and refer cases when young people may be exploited for sex.

“It is important to note that these statistics relate to

referrals only and whilst they are all fully investigated, some cases may result in no further action being taken because exploitation is not taking place.

“However, where children have been abused police will always work with partners to ensure offenders are brought to justice.”

A report by the Halo operation also found ‘little to no evidence’ that sexual exploitation gangs are operating in Herts.

Mr Picton added: “I would like to reassure everyone that there is currently no evidence of any kind of endemic, organised child sexual exploitation in Hertfordshire but we continue to remain vigilant and would ask the community to be our eyes and ears and report any concerns.”

The Board has also released guidelines on how to spot whether a young person is being sexually exploited – including being estranged from their families, showing signs of physical injuries or self-harm, being absent from school or making friends with significantly older people.

The advice will be publicised as part of a campaign to be launched next month – called Say Something if you See Something – which aims to safeguard children in the county and protect against exploitation.

Anyone with concerns about possible child victims should call the police on the non-emergency number 101, or Children’s Services on 0300 123 4043.


Child sex abuse was endemic in Sheffield, says ex care worker

Published October 1, 2014 by misty534


The sexual exploitation of teenage girls was “endemic” in Sheffield during the early 2000s, a former care home worker has claimed.

She told the BBC that girls were passed around organised groups of men and trafficked to other cities.

Her claims follow the publication of a report showing 1,400 children were sexually abused in nearby Rotherham.

Sheffield Council said it had taken action and South Yorkshire Police said it was working on 173 abuse cases.

Ruth, who has used a pseudonym to protect the identity of those who were in her care, worked at a home in the city for two years from 2002 until 2004.

Offered to menShe said her colleagues were powerless to stop the youngsters, aged between 13 and 14 years old, meeting groups of older men she said were of Asian heritage.

In one instance, she said a perpetrator rang the care home to describe the location of a girl who had been raped and left in a park.

Ruth said: “In the unit I worked in, we had four girls and three of the girls were involved in the ring of abuse.

“They would go out with the one person they trusted and thought they were building a relationship with, thought they were in love with.

“They were told how beautiful and lovely they were… and then they would be offered to other men in the circle or taken out of the city to pre-arranged areas to be used.”

Ruth said many of the care staff she worked with tried to protect the girls.

But she said: “You can’t drag them back in, you can’t force them back in, all you can try and do is persuade them that you want to keep them safe.

“And occasionally some of the care workers would go out in cars and drive around and just see if we could see the girls, which put us at great risk, but we were so desperate and so frustrated with the lack of anything being done for them.

173 investigations“It was endemic… it was absolutely endemic throughout.

“I think the whole system failed the girls. Completely and utterly failed.”

Sheffield City Council said its child sexual exploitation service had taken action at the time including offering counselling and one-to-one work, as well as individual plans to support young people.

“These plans included how any adults suspected of being involved in the sexual exploitation of young people were to be monitored, and information passed to the police,” a council spokesman said.

A spokesman for South Yorkshire Police said there were currently 173 live investigations into child exploitation across South Yorkshire and it took allegations of child abuse “extremely seriously”.

“We continue to encourage anyone who has been a victim of sexual violence or anyone who believes that they have information about this type of crime to come forward,” he said.


Rise in UK trafficking, slavery and exploitation

Published September 30, 2014 by misty534


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

Child sex gang “actively targeted” girls from troubled homes

Published April 16, 2013 by misty534



VULNERABLE young girls were groomed and sexually exploited in a “pattern repeated time and time again”, the Old Bailey heard this morning.

The jury was told the nine men accused of involvement in a child sex gang in Oxford had “actively targeted” girls from troubled homes lives.

And prosecutor Noel Lucas said the six complainants who testified in the case had been “ideal candidates” for abuse by the gang, After three months, evidence in the trial finished last week.

Beginning his closing speech this morning, Mr Lucas told the jury: “This is the start of the final chapter of this long trial.”

He said: “I told you in opening that the complainants had been actively targeted because they were vulnerable young girls; children who were out playing truant.

“Having heard the evidence in the case, you may feel that that is precisely what happened.

“We submit it is a pattern which repeats itself time after time again in this case.”

He said the alleged victims known as Girl 1, 2, 3, and 4 – who claim they were raped and trafficked for sex from 2004 to 2008 – were “vulnerable young women”.

He said: “Each had been found by various combinations of these defendants.

“Each had been groomed. Each had been provided with affection, alcohol and drugs and gifts. Each was made to provide sexual services.”

He added: “Each of the first four complainants are now that little bit older and are able to look on that time of their lives as something they are ashamed of and anxious to forget.”

He also reminded the jury that Girl 5 and 6 were only 16 and 17, adding: “Neither (Girl 5) nor (Girl 6), it would seem, has reached the point of looking back on their young selves and realising what they have been put through.”

Judge Peter Rook last week told the jury he hoped to send them out to consider verdicts on May 1.

The defendants deny the charges. The trial continues.


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