The evidence given by two brave victims has helped lead to the conviction of 15 men involved in the grooming and abuse of young girls from the Halifax region. This is an important step in the efforts to tackle the sexual exploitation of children in the Calderdale area.
The offences involved were serious and led to convictions following a series of trials for various counts of rape, grooming and trafficking. These recent convictions are the result of a major investigation by West Yorkshire Police that stretches back to 2012 when the allegations were first reported.
A total of 25 men were charged as a consequence of the intensive investigation process. During the course of the trials, 4 of the men charged were found not guilty while 3 more were acquitted on the direction of the Trial Judge. Those convicted now face sentences ranging from 25 years for the most serious offender who was found guilty of 2 counts of rape and 2 further counts of trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation to 10 months for an offender convicted of supplying drugs.
It is a testament to the strength of the two brave victims coming forward that they were able to tell their stories after being subjected to terrible ordeals. The strength it takes to tell others of what happened cannot be underestimated, their courage should be applauded. It is clear that West Yorkshire Police have taken these issues very seriously in what has been a major enquiry that involved a great deal of time interviewing the victims and processing the large volume of evidence that a large scale investigation produces. It must be hoped that this example will encourage others to come forward.