Irish teens arrested in child sexual exploitation swoop

NewsBy Jamie McDowell
Irish teens arrested in child sexual exploitation swoop

Two teenagers are among a group of six people arrested by police investigating child sexual exploitation in Ballymena, County Antrim.

The Public Protection Branch of the PSNI announced that the five males aged 42, 56, 19, 23 and 17 and a female, 48, were arrested in the town this morning by officers from the Northern Trust Public Protection Unit.

The males were all arrested on suspicion of rape and other related offences.

The woman was arrested on suspicion of aiding and abetting rape and false imprisonment. 

Detective Chief Inspector Deirdre Bones, from the PSNI’s Public Protection Branch said: “PSNI is committed to tackling child sexual exploitation and these arrests reflect our determination to apprehend those suspected of coercing, exploiting and abusing children and young people in this manner.

“It is important to note that although these arrests all took place in the Ballymena area, the suspects are not all linked to each other. This is not about organised sexual abuse by a group of people. The arrests are part of a wider PSNI investigation focused on child sexual exploitation.”

She added: “We are determined to do everything we can in relation to child sexual exploitation and we recognise that the most effective way to tackle sexual exploitation of children is via effective multi-agency and partnership working. The PSNI works closely with our partner agencies and this collaborative approach means we can focus our resources to prevent harm, detect crime and protect people.

“We all have a responsibility to tackle this issue and protect those who are the most vulnerable in our society. Child sexual exploitation is something that parents and carers everywhere need to be aware of. Think about what your children are doing, where they are going and who they are meeting.

“If you notice any changes in their behaviour or if they receive unexplained gifts that can’t be accounted for such as jewellery or mobile phones or if you have any other concerns, it is important you take action. Contact the police on 101 or 999 in an emergency. You can also ring the NSPCC CSE Helpline on 0800 389 1701 or Childline on 0800 1111."