Evidence has emerged of a new grooming gang operating around a McDonald’s in Stratford, with three men and three boys now arrested on suspicion of being a part of it.
Commenting on the four rape reports, Detective Inspector Laura Hillier, of the Metropolitan Police’s sexual exploitation team, told The Independent:
"They had all been met by males at the McDonald’s on the Broadway in Stratford and been taken to different places where they were sexually assaulted."
Some of the girls had a firm feeling that they had been called on a date, while there were those drawn to the place by criminal gangs offering money for drug running.
Experts single out several methods of grooming, with the most popular being the "boyfriend" model, in which an abusive relationship is used to force victims into sex. Another one, the so-called "party model" consists of potential victims being targeted by groups of men or boys partying, who offer anything from a drink to a car ride.
The Stratford investigation has just started, with a wider range of victims still expected to come forward.
Following the high-profile Rotherham and Rochdale cases involving an estimated 1,400 underage victims, the trafficking of underage girls has become one of the most sensitive issues in today’s Britain, with police detaining around 420 men every month over the sexual exploitation of children across England and Wales, The Independent wrote.