A SPECIAL team of detectives have arrested a number of people as part of a major investigation into the sexual exploitation of children and young people in Northern Ireland.
The inquiry follows a PSNI review of cases where young people have gone missing from the care system over the last 18 months.
Detectives say a total of 22 young people, aged between 13 and 18, may be at risk.
The sexual exploitation of children is to be discussed at the Stormont Assembly on Monday.
Health Minister Edwin Poots and Justice Minister David Ford are due to attend a committee meeting.
Most of the children were abused when they went missing from care homes.
A police spokesperson said: “As part of this review, we have identified a group of 22 young people who may be at risk from child sexual exploitation and are seeking to identify those who may have committed crimes against them.”
The spokesperson said police could not give “specific details” about the alleged incidents at this stage other than detectives were working alongside asocial workers in what has been described as an “extremely complex” investigation.
The spokesperson appealed to anyone with any concerns about a child or young person or anyone who was a victim of child sex exploitation to contact police on 0845 600 8000.
The NSPCC is also to set up a hotline number for victims of child sexual exploitation.