Lincolnshire Police raided seven addresses on Portland Street in Lincoln on Wednesday as part of an operation to tackle child sexual and criminal exploitation.
The raids on December 9 were carried out in partnership with Trading Standards and Environmental Health, with Chief Inspector Phil Baker leading Operation Vigilance targeting the Lincoln area.
Two men, aged in their 20s and 30s, have been arrested as a result of Wednesday’s enforcement action.
Operation Vigilance is a partnership project by Lincolnshire County Council, City of Lincoln Council, local housing providers, Barnardo’s and the Children’s Society.
Lincolnshire taxi drivers have also already been urged to watch out for signs of child exploitation in a bid to get ahead of those “doing the work of the devil”.
Chief Inspector Baker said: “Exploitation of children could be happening now in your local parks, fast food restaurants, takeaways, bus and train stations.
“A child who has unexplained injuries, who looks threatened by an older person or group, who looks lost, fearful, or withdrawn may be a victim of exploitation.
“If you see a child demonstrating any of these signs, look beyond. Taxis, private hire cars, B&Bs, hotels may be used in the exploitation of children.”
Sexual and criminal exploitation of children happens when young people are manipulated into doing something illegal, and offenders may use gifts, money or threats of violence to control their victim.
Chief Inspector Baker added: “Please don’t assume we already know or that someone else will pass on information which may be critical to keeping a child safe. If you have your suspicions, make a note of any details you can including vehicles, names and locations.”
Anyone who is concerned that a child may be being exploited should contact police on 101, or 999 if it’s an emergency.
Alternatively, it can be reported through the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Anyone worried that a child is suffering neglect, abuse or cruelty should call the County Council Children’s Safeguarding line on 01522 782111.