School children groomed with gifts for sex in Ilford, police confirm
- Credit: Archant
Children have been performing sexual favours in return for new trainers, gifts and alcohol, Ilford police confirm.
Around 100 Met officers along with outreach workers and immigration officials descended on Ilford town centre last week to disrupt criminal activity and raise awareness about sexual exploitation.
The victims are from diverse backgrounds, including middle-class families and children in the care system and some residents have moved neighbourhoods to remove their children from the exploiters clutches.
Det Insp Laura Hillier said there is a preconception that older males are targeting younger girls, but in Valentines Park and roads surrounding the station a lot of the time it was “peer on peer or a large group of boys with one girl”.
“It is happening in Ilford but we are dealing with it,” she said.
“We have a three-pronged approach - maximum disruption, zero tolerance and engaging with young people. We really need the public to be aware, they need to understand the signs and symptoms and lift their eyes and see what young people are doing in the area.”
Anyone with concerns about a young person should call the police on 101.
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Find out more about what the police are doing to tackle grooming in the borough in our Longer reads article, airing at 7.30am.