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15 May 2013, 20:51
A volunteer group says the conviction of 7 men from Oxford for child sex trafficking is a wake-up call for everybody.
OXCAT (Oxford Community Against Trafficking) praised the victims for their bravery in making sure the men faced justice but say the case has pulled into 'sharp focus' the horror of human trafficking in neighbourhoods and communities.
Zeeshan Ahmed, Akhtar Dogar, Anjum Dogar, Assad Hussain, Kamar Jamil, Bassam Karrar and Mohammed Karrar, aged between 27 and 38 were variously convicted on May 14 of rape, arranging child prostitution, trafficking a child for sexual exploitation and supplying drugs.
Andy Dipper, an OXCAT spokesman, said: "The decade-long catalogue of torment and abuse suffered by these young women has been horrifying.
"But it has been going on right under our noses; in our streets, outside our schools and behind closed doors in Oxford homes and hotels.
"This is not an isolated case, more and more incidents are being uncovered across the country. We cannot stand for this kind of abuse in modern day Britain… we encourage everyone to Open Your Eyes.”
"OXCAT was set up to highlight the problem of men and women trafficked into domestic servitude, criminal activity or sexual exploitation.
The group has just a few volunteers, but provides training to taxi drivers, school children and hotel staff to raise awareness of human trafficking.
OXCAT is encouraging people to spot the signs of trafficking:
Foreign nationals who rarely come out of a house except with a guardian.
Frequent visitors to residential premises, often a stream of men arriving and leaving at unusual times.
Cars or minibuses picking up foreign nationals at unusual times.
Sex workers who offer ‘special services’ at a low price, who are advertised as having particular ethnicity, who appear underage or speak no or little English.
Teenage girls who seem unhappy, living with older, unrelated males, who drive them about.
Commercial premises (including restaurants) that survive despite an acute lack of regular business.
For much more detailed information, visit www.blueblindfold.co.uk
If you see something suspicious, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111
Thames Valley Police has set up a special confidential helpline for anyone concerned about a child who may be at risk of child sexual exploitation. The number is 01865 266255. Outside of these hours, people can contact a police officer directly on 101.
Anyone worried about a child can also call the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000.