Twenty men have been arrested for “non-recent child sexual exploitation” in West Yorkshire after a woman claimed to have been abused by the men as a child.
The offences occurred predominantly in the Halifax area between 2006 and 2009. The suspects are aged 28 to 43 and a number of addresses in Calderdale and Kirklees were searched earlier this week.
All 20 have now been released, with 18 pending further investigation and two put on bail, West Yorkshire police said in a statement.
In 2016, 15 men from a mainly Muslim grooming gang from the same town of Calderdale were sent to prison for “systematically” grooming and sexually abusing teenage girls in the area.
There has been no official suggestion the case is linked to this week’s arrests.
Twenty men arrested as part of investigation in to non-recent child sexual exploitation in Halifax between 2006-2006. The arrests were made during a three day pre-planned operation earlier this week. https://t.co/NZPhVZUOCI #KnowTheSigns
— West Yorkshire Police (@WestYorksPolice) January 12, 2018
Detective Inspector Allan Raw, of Calderdale District Safeguarding, said: “This investigation forms part of West Yorkshire Police’s commitment to the investigation of both current and non-recent sexual offences against children.
“These are abhorrent crimes that affect the most vulnerable in our society.
“Protecting children and ensuring that victims are put at the heart of everything we do and continues to be a top priority for the Force.
“We have specialist safeguarding units in each of our five policing districts, which include officers dedicated to dealing with both current and non-recent child sexual exploitation.
“Tackling any form of child abuse is not something that any one agency can do in isolation though which is why we work closely with local authorities and other organisations and charities to support victims, bring offenders to justice and make our communities safer.
“We would urge anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse, no matter when it took place, to report it to the police.
“Please be assured that you will be listened to, taken seriously and supported by professionals with experience in dealing with these kinds of offences.”