Developing

Six Due In Court Over 'Child Prostitution'

Six men will appear before magistrates today charged in connection with a police investigation into the suspected exploitation of dozens of young girls in Oxford.

A total of 13 arrests were made by police in dawn raids on Thursday following claims that 24 vulnerable girls, aged between 11 and 16, had been groomed for rape.

The six men, aged between 26 and 37, were charged on Friday night with 33 counts between them.

A 26-year-old has been accused of 10 counts of engaging in sexual activity with a child, while a 30-year-old was charged with conspiring to rape a child, arranging prostitution of a child and trafficking.

A 31-year-old has been 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.

A 37-year-old was 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 has been charged with one count of rape, and a 26-year-old has been charged with four counts of rape, two counts of arranging the prostitution of a child and one count of making a threat to kill.

Three others who were arrested have been released on police bail until April 12 and four men were released on police bail on Friday night.

Officers started their investigation after a number of girls were reported missing in the university city.

Detectives believe runaways as young as 11 may have been preyed upon for Britain's sex trade.

Thames Valley Police suspect the young children were in care or living rough, and they were transported around Britain over a six-year period.

More than 100 officers carried out raids as the force executed 14 warrants across the city as part of an operation named Bullfinch.

Many of the alleged victims were said to have been "known" to children's services.

On Friday, police posted a video on YouTube to reassure community members and urge any potential victims to come forward.

Patrols of officers also took to the streets of the city to hand out public awareness leaflets amid fears more children may be involved.