Oxford child sex trafficking probe widens as number of ‘victims’ doubles to 50 girls, some as young as 11
- The number of alleged victims has increased from 24 to as many as 50 as more young girls come forward
- A total of 13 men arrested after raids as part of Operation Bullfinch
- Charges include trafficking, grooming, and rape of girls between the age of 11 and 16
By Tom Gardner
PUBLISHED: 14:12 GMT, 13 April 2012 | UPDATED: 14:38 GMT, 13 April 2012
A suspected sex trafficking ring in which girls as young as 11 were allegedly targeted was far larger than previously feared, according to police.
As many as 50 young girls have come forward claiming to have been sold for sex in Oxford, detective confirmed today.
It was originally thought that 24 girls, aged between 11 and 16 years, were the only victims but more youngsters have since contacted the police alleging they were also victims.
Oxford police commander, Acting Superintendent Chris Sharp, said more ‘potential victims’ had come forward as a result of the publicity the case had received.
A total of 13 men were arrested when more than 100 police swooped in the raids across Oxford, codenamed Operation Bullfinch.
A group of six Asian men – including two sets of brothers – have been charged by police in connection with allegedly running the sex trafficking ring in the university city known for its dreaming spires.
Since the initial dawn raids last month, officers had made a further two arrests as part of the probe, a police spokesman said.
A 39-year-old man and a 40-year-old woman were detained on suspicion of ‘grooming’ this week.
The man has been freed on police bail to return to a police station in May, pending further inquiries and the woman was released without charge.
Police arrested 13 men in raids across Oxford on Thursday, March 22, after investigating the suspected ring since May last year.
Six men were charged and appeared at Aylesbury Crown Court, sitting at Amersham on Friday, March 30, for a preliminary hearing and were all remanded in custody.
Father of two Kamar Jamil, aged 26 years, of Summertown, Oxford, who is charged with four counts of rape, two counts of arranging the prostitution of a child, one count of making a threat to kill and one count of possession with intent to supply class A drugs, has since been granted conditional bail by the court.
Seven men returned to a police station to answer bail on Thursday and had their bail extended for a further eight weeks.
High Wycombe Magistrates Court heard during the first hearing last month how the accused men are believed to have groomed 24 girls for sex between May 2004 and March, this year.
Four girls, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were allegedly given alcohol and drugs, and forced to have sex with some of the men.
Clare Tucker, prosecuting, said during that hearing: ‘These charges relate to the sexual exploitation of girls between 11 and 16 across the Oxford area over a period of several years.’
Zeshan Ahmed, 26, is charged with ten counts of engaging in sexual activity with a child.
Anjum Dogar, 30, is charged with one count of conspiring to rape a child, one count of arranging prostitution of a child and one count of trafficking.
His brother, Akhtar, 31, is charged with three counts of rape, one count of conspiring to rape a child, three counts of arranging the prostitution of a child, one count of making a threat to kill and one count of trafficking.
Mohammed Karrar, 37, 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.
His brother Bassan, a 32-year-old father of two, is charged with one count of raping a child in 2006.
Detective Inspector Simon Morton, of Thames Valley Police, said at the time of the arrests: ‘We are working closely with social services to make sure the young girls involved are safe.’