Mr Elvidge added that targets were selected because of their vulnerability, with the groomers believing their circumstances and other factors like drug dependence made them less likely to go to police.
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A total of 17 men and one woman have been convicted of offences including rape, sexual abuse, supplying drugs and trafficking for sexual exploitation in a series of trials.
Police said the convicts were mainly “not white” but came from a diverse range of backgrounds including Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Indian, Iranian, Iraqi, Kurdish, Turkish, Albanian and Eastern European.