Police in South Yorkshire have warned criminals who exploit vulnerable children they will be found and brought to justice.
It comes after five men were jailed for their part in trafficking and abusing a 13-year-old Sheffield girl.
South Yorkshire Police have come under fire in recent weeks for not doing enough to protect vulnerable victims of child sexual exploitation in the wake of the Rotherham scandal and a report which said officers actively tried to disprove such victims.
However, this week, five men were jailed for a total of 28 years and six months for trafficking and abusing a 13-year-old Sheffield girl who had run away from home.
Detective Inspector Helen Tate said the result would help reassure people.
She said: “It’s important to the public, for parents and people within the community to see the police are there, investigating this kind of criminality. And that’s in partnership with all other agencies. We support our vulnerable and our young children.
“The offence occurred in August 2013. Investigations of these complexities do take time and it’s only by a thorough and in-depth investigation that you stand a chance of securing prosecutions.
“I hope this does display what South Yorkshire Police are doing in relation to child sexual exploitation.”
“We hope, by securing convictions for these crimes, we send a warning to those individuals who choose to exploit young people.
“You will be found and brought to justice.
“I can only hope the verdicts will give the victim and her family some small degree of comfort knowing those responsible are behind bars”
Shakeal Rehman, aged 26, 22-year-old Mohammed Shapal and Bekir Rasheed, 36, all from Bradford, West Yorkshire, and 37-year-old Yaseen Amini, of Lopham Street, Burngreave, Sheffield, were found guilty at Sheffield Crown Court of trafficking for sexual activity.
Usman Ali, 21, also from Bradford, and Shapal were convicted of sexual activity with a child and Rehman was found guilty of rape.
Amini was convicted of sexual activity with a child.
Rehman was jailed for 12 years, Rasheed and Shapal both got four years and Amini was given five-and-a-half years.
Ali was jailed for three years.