A Derby charity has praised the bravery of the victims of five men who have been found guilty of paying for the sexual services of a child.
Mark Adaoui, Ijaz Ahmed, John Shaw, Anthony Lambert and Stefan Godfrey were all convicted following a trial at Derby Crown Court. They will be sentenced at a later date.
Five other men, who formed part of the same police investigation, have already admitted sexual offences involving children.
The court case followed a lengthy police investigation – called Operation Kern – which began in July 2010 after concerns were raised about the safety of teenage girls seen on the streets of Derby in the evenings.
Safe and Sound Derby, which helps children and young people who are being, or who are at risk of being sexually exploited, worked closely with local agencies throughout the operation.
Nathalie Walters, chief executive of Safe and Sound Derby, said: “We have been providing support to two of the victims as well as to the parents of one of the victims, helping them to move forward in their lives.
“The girls have had to wait for two years for this case to come to court where they then had to relive their horrific ordeal all over again.
“Giving evidence in court and being questioned in front of the perpetrators has been a harrowing experience for them.
“They have showed amazing bravery and strength of character and without their testimonies these men would not have been convicted.
“This case demonstrates that child sexual exploitation can come in many forms from on-street to internet grooming and that offenders can come from all walks of life.
“We hope these verdicts show that child sexual exploitation will not be tolerated in any form.”