Police conducting the largest ever investigation into child sexual exploitation have arrested 40 more people in relation to offences in Rotherham.
Thirty-eight men and two women have been arrested in connection with serious child sexual abuse and exploitation offences against 13 victims.
The individuals aged between 29 and 53 were arrested as part of Operation Stovewood – an investigation into child sexual exploitation.
The men and women from Sheffield, Rotherham, Leeds, Dewsbury and Maidstone have been arrested or interviewed by appointment over the last two months before being released under investigation or bailed while enquiries continue.
Offences against the men and women relate to 13 victims who came forward alleging abuse between 1997 and 2015 when they were aged between 11 and 26.
Operation Stovewood is the largest ever investigation into non-recent child sexual exploitation (CSE) undertaken by law enforcement in the UK.
In the first convictions at court in November 2017 three men were sentenced for their role in the sexual exploitation of a child in Rotherham 23 years ago.
Seven men were also found guilty of 24 sex offences when they abused five girls aged under 16 between 1998 and 2005.
They were convicted of charges including rape, procuring a girl under 21 for sexual intercourse and aiding and abetting rape at Sheffield Crown Court last year.
A total of seven trials related to the operation have been conducted so far.
More court cases are set to be heard later this year.
The Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal consisted of the organised child sexual abuse that occurred in the South Yorkshire town.
An estimated 1,400 people were abused according to the Jay Report released in 2014.
Carl Vessey-Baitson from the NCA said: “Arresting such a large number of individuals as part of one Stovewood sub-operation shows our desire to listen to victims and bring offenders to justice is not wavering.
“Stovewood is a challenging and complex investigation, with victims and survivors re-living abuse that took place many years ago.
“To date we have engaged with over 410 victims and survivors and have arrested or interviewed by appointment 94 suspects, meaning this is the largest law enforcement investigation into non-familial CSAE ever undertaken in the UK.
“Conducting such an investigation can only be achieved with the support and coordination of our partners, and South Yorkshire Police and Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council continue to provide invaluable assistance”.
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