MARCH 24 2012 05:29h

6 charged with running child sex ring

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OXFORD, England, March 24 (UPI) -- Six men face charges in England of operating a prostitution ring that exploited runaway children, authorities said.

The suspects were arrested Thursday after a joint investigation by Thames Valley Police and the Oxfordshire child welfare agency, The Guardian reported. Investigators said at least 24 girls between the ages of 11 and 16 were prepared for prostitution.

Operation Bulfinch, as the investigation was named, culminated in 13 arrests and raids at 14 addresses, police said. Seven of those arrested were freed on bail, while six were held to appear in court Saturday on charges that include sex trafficking and conspiring to rape children.

Investigators described the victims as runaways or girls in difficult circumstances. The traffickers allegedly moved them around the country.