More than 100 officers from Thames Valley Police carried out dawn raids at homes across Oxford today (Tuesday) as the force continues its investigation into child sexual exploitation (CSE).
Warrants were executed at eight properties in the city at 6am and eight men aged between 29 and 45 were arrested.
The force is investigating approximately 60 offences relating to female victims in Oxford between 1999 and 2007 as part of Operation Sabaton.
Detective superintendent Joe Kidman said: “This is a complex investigation into Child Sexual Exploitation in Oxford undertaken by the Thames Valley Police Major Crime Unit.
“We are working with our partners at Oxfordshire County Council to safeguard and support the victims, whose identities will be protected.
“There might be people listening to this today and it may remind them of something that has happened to them, if that is the case then please pick up the phone and call Thames Valley Police on our 24-hour number 101. If you don’t want to speak to police you can call Crimestoppers anonymously.
“We would encourage all victims of child sexual exploitation to come forward and speak to us in confidence. We will listen to you and we will support you.“
Six social workers from Oxfordshire County Council have been working alongside police officers as part of the ongoing operation, helping to provide support for victims.
Shannah Farncombe, head of safeguarding at the county council said: “The council, Thames Valley Police and our partners work closely to pursue all cases, including non-recent cases.
“In recent years we’ve trained more than 8,000 professionals across all agencies who have contact with children in Oxfordshire. They now know how to spot the signs of CSE and can report these to our multi-agency Kingfisher team.
“Meanwhile more than 24,000 children have now viewed a drama called Chelsea’s Choice that tours Oxfordshire schools to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation.”
In April six men were found guilty of a range of sexual exploitation offences against vulnerable young girls in Banbury. They were sentenced to a total of 31 years and nine months in prison.
If you are worried about somebody who you think may be a victim of child exploitation you can call ChildLine on 0800 11 11 or visit their website www.childline.org.uk.