10/07/2006

Pregnant teenager abandoned in Sheffield

Police are investigating a possible people trafficking case after a pregnant teenager was discovered abandoned in Sheffield.

The 16-year-old Kenyan girl, who is due to give birth in August, sought help at council offices in the city centre after being driven to Sheffield by men who had held her captive and forced her into prostitution elsewhere in the country, possibly in London.

The girl was interviewed by specialist police officers who have pieced together her ordeal using video interviews over the last two weeks.

Detective Inspector Matt Fenwick, head of South Yorkshire Police's Reflex unit, said that the girl was “still extremely distressed”. He said: "The sequence of events that has emerged during those interviews is both shocking and tragic. It involves imprisonment, beatings and systematic rape over a lengthy period. Anyone who can subject a teenage girl to such abuse needs to be caught as a matter of urgency before they can do the same again.”

The girl, whose mother died two years ago, is believed to have been living on the streets in Nairobi until she was promised work as a house girl and brought to the UK at the end of last summer, accompanied by a woman.

When she arrived in Britain, she was met at a train station by two men, who are believed to have used violence and threats to force her to work as a prostitute in a house in London. She became pregnant around three months later.

The girl described the house where she was kept as overlooking a park or grassed area and split over three levels with some underground rooms and a white front door with glass in it.

The girl also said that the house had red comfortable seats in a "waiting area" and blue carpet throughout.

Four other young women lived in the same premises, all of whom were white and spoke a language other than English.

When the girl, who turned 16 in April, became too heavily pregnant to work, she was driven to Sheffield and abandoned. Police are keen to trace any witnesses who may have seen the girl travelling to, or arriving in Sheffield on June 16, accompanied by two men.

The car they travelled in is described as dark blue with two doors and tinted windows.

The first man is described as tall and black with a shaven head. He is speaks English and has two gold teeth - one upper tooth and one lower. The girl also said that he always wears sunglasses.

The other man is white and spoke a language other than English. He had short brown hair.

Police would also like to trace a woman who was approached by the girl on June 16.

The woman, who was Asian and had a small boy and girl with her, was in the Surrey/Arundel Gate area around lunchtime and was approached by the girl who asked her for work looking after the children. The woman directed her to council buildings to get help.

Police have asked anyone with any information to contact: 0114 2523388 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on: 0800 555 111.

(KMcA/SP)

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