AUDITIONS will soon be held for a short film on child sexual exploitation that echoes the horrors of Operation Bullfinch.

Seeing Grace, which explores grooming, prostitution and sexual trafficking through the eyes of a teenage girl, was performed as a play at the Old Fire Station in Oxford last year.

That performance followed its debut in Vienna in 2008 and has now been rewritten with the help of a key informant from Operation Bullfinch.

Creator Mary Scott, 54, from East Oxford, said: “We were in Vienna in 2003 and met a musician who had written a story about a woman involved in prostitution.

“She had come out of that, found faith and got married, but was still haunted by the faces of her previous clients.

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“I kept the core concern about true love versus abusive love, based on a true story but also involving a lot of research.

“I was looking at how these girls get into this and how they are groomed or duped into prostitution.”

Ms Scott added: “When I rewrote Seeing Grace I brought in much more of the trafficking angle. Theatre should be a cathartic journey, not just entertainment.”

In the play, chief protagonist Grace, now in her 40s, has been released from prison for trafficking.

Her reflections on the harrowing experiences of her former teenage self make up most of the narrative.

A 20-minute film adaptation is set to be shot during October 2015 and February 2016 half-terms.

Locations include The Mitre pub in High Street, the King’s Centre in Osney Mead, Blackbird Leys Park and homes around the city.

Extras aged at least 16 are still needed to play gang members, nightclub-goers, dancers and schoolchildren. One young man aged 18 with dance or physical theatre experience is also required for a leading role.

It is hoped that when complete, the film will be entered into film festivals and used in schools as an educational tool.

  • The Seeing Grace project is still looking for sponsors. To enquire about sponsorship or auditions, email or visit for more information.


A 45-YEAR-OLD woman from Oxford and advisor for the play worked for 17 years in the sex industry and ran a brothel in Oxford until the early 2000s. 

She would go on to advise Thames Valley Police alongside campaign group Oxford Community Against Trafficking (Oxcat) in the early days of what would become the Bullfinch enquiry. 

The woman said: “I walked out in 2006 because I wanted a new life. At some new brothels there were guns and drugs, and girls working 18 hours a day. 

“We hated them for what they did; we knew what they were doing to the girls.”

Following a joint investigation by police and Oxfordshire County Council, seven men were given prison sentences totalling 95 years for offences including rape, facilitating child prostitution and 

A serious case review published in March said more than 370 children were suspected to have been victims of sexual exploitation over the past 15 years.