Of the 263 reports of sexual exploitation and illegal prostitution investigated by police in Lincolnshire in five years, at least 246 involved the sexual exploitation of children.
Reports investigated by police also included one incident where a person was alleged to have paid for the sexual services of a child.
In addition, between 2014 and the end of 2018 there were four reports of arranging or facilitating the sexual abuse of a child and four reports of controlling a child in relation to sexual exploitation.
The figures refer to exploitation only, with the numbers for sexual abuse of children alone rising to the thousands.
Over 260 crimes were recorded in total in connection with the sexual exploitation of children and illegal activities associated with adult prostitution, according to the results of a Freedom of Information request disclosed by the force.
Prostitution is legal in the UK, but crimes such as the exploitation of sex workers and soliciting are illegal.
The number of reports of ‘causing or inciting sexual exploitation of a child’ (Section 48) soared from 38 in 2014 to 105 the following year, however it has been gradually declining since to 41 (2016), 33 (2017) and 29 (2018).
Of all of these reports, the number that resulted in cautions or charges is significantly lower at 58.
- 2014 – 11
- 2015 – 28
- 2016 – 12
- 2017 – 3
- 2018 – 4
Lincolnshire Police clarified that this does not include cases where someone was charged with an alternate offence. The charge figures may also have changed since they were first published as police continue to investigate some of the reports.
Richard Myszczyszyn, Detective Chief Inspector at Lincolnshire Police, said: “Lincolnshire Police takes all reports of sexual exploitation of a child extremely seriously.
“As part of every investigation we make sure that the child is supported into a safe environment and that those responsible for any offences are brought to justice.
“If someone has sexually exploited a child and we can produce evidence of this, we will put this forward to the Crown Prosecution Service to advise on if charges can be brought.
“In some cases where there are multiple victims, reports of exploitation can relate to the same investigation. We also continue to investigate offences from previous years.”