Operation Sanctuary success

Northumbria Police announced yesterday that its investigation into Operation Sanctuary, a child sexual exploitation network in Newcastle has been successful. A team of fifty officers worked on the case with 782 people coming forward during the investigation.

Chief Constable Steve Ashman said in a statement that “the sexual exploitation of vulnerable people is, in my opinion, the challenge of our generation. It is a huge task that we are faced with.” This statement came after it was noted that one small alert in December 2013 led to the uncovering of the vicious and sickening exploitation circle, culminating in the arrests of over 400 people and the conviction of over 90.

The gang was able to lure young victims in by giving them the attention of men and then inviting them to parties, promising alcohol and drugs while there. Newcastle Crown Court also heard how victims were raped after being “too intoxicated” with the alcohol and drugs given to them to defend themselves. It was also heard that other victims became addicted to the substances which resulted in them committing sexual acts in return for drugs, usually mephedrone.

While convictions have been made, the investigation is not over yet and anyone who may think they have been a victim of this wide-scale crime ring should get in contact with them.

You can contact the police by dialling 101 or visit your local station.

If you have been affected by any of the issues discussed in this article, there are people to talk to:

– Childline: 0800 1111

– Samaritans: 0191 384 2727