Telford child sexual exploitation scandal

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The Telford child sexual exploitation scandal is an ongoing scandal in the United Kingdom. Originally, a group of British-Asian men were convicted of grooming local children for sex between 2007 and 2009 in Telford in the English county of Shropshire.[1][2][3] While media reports had suggested 100 or more girls had been affected[4] and around 200 perpetrators were suspected[5], in March 2018 the Sunday Mirror reported that up to 1,000 girls may have been abused, with some even murdered, in incidents dating back to the 1970s.[6]

According to the Home Office, as of 2015, Telford had the highest rate of sex crimes against children of any city in the United Kingdom.[7] Telford has a population of just under 170,000 people.[8]


Overview

In a series of trials stretching over two years and concluding in May 2013,[9] seven men, were convicted of sexual offences against four girls aged 13 to 16. The offences included rape, controlling child prostitution, causing child prostitution, and trafficking for the purpose of prostitution.[10][4]

In 2018, investigations by the Sunday Mirror alleged that the extent of the Telford grooming gang was far more vast than had previously been believed, with claims of up to 1,000 girls, most of them white,[11] having been victims of trafficking, drugging, beating, rape and even murder by members of the group and other groups, who are suspected to number in the hundreds, making it the largest of any grooming scandal to date.[12][13][14] Similar with other grooming gang cases it was alleged the authority's failed to keep details of abusers from Asian communities for fear of being seen as racist,[15] with police having known about gang activities since the early 1990s. Many of the social workers and the victims involved in the investigation testified that the police and local council were unwilling, unhelpful and sometimes intentionally obstructive of their efforts to report and arrest the perpetrators, in which "Council Staff viewed abused and trafficked children as 'prostitutes' instead of victims", "police failed to investigate one recent case five times until an MP intervened", a victim dropped out of pursuing an investigation against her abusers because she "didn’t feel she was being emotionally supported" by police, and a victim claimed that "officers discouraged her from pursuing her request for evidence after she told them she was speaking to the Mirror".[16]

The MP for Telford, Lucy Allan, has demanded an independent inquiry, stating, "There must now be an independent inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Telford so that our community can have absolute confidence in the authorities."[17]

The police chief for West Mercia police "significantly disputed"[18] the figures claimed by the Daily Mirror. The Supt who is in overall charge of policing in Telford, said police and authorities in the town were working with "approximately 46 young people" who were victims of child sexual exploitation (CSE) or considered "at risk". A stark contrast to the 1,000 number claimed by the tabloid. "Read the headlines, read the reports. What are they actually discussing? They're discussing cases from 20 or 30 years ago, offending back in the 1990s."

The claim of "mostly white girls being targeted due to their background" has also been significantly disputed. Ansar Ali, a spokesman for Together Against Grooming, said he had seen evidence about the background of those affected. He said: "A study on this issue was done by the Office of the Children's Commissioner which dated back to 2013 and, according to that research, a third of victims were felt to be from a non-white background or black minority ethnic background."[19] A Telford social worker also reiterated this view "It isn't only girls that are exploited, boys can be exploited in exactly the same way through grooming. "We work with an age range of 13 to 19-year-olds, we have females and we have males we support. "We have young people from all different backgrounds, it is not just targeting young girls through working class."[20]

The police chief also disputed claims that offenders were predominantly groups of Asian men, adding: “What I would say is sexual offending across Telford and Wrekin is virtually identically proportionate to the breakdown of society, so it is not one particular section over others and we will tackle it wherever it is.”[21]

Operation Chalice

Location of Shropshire

West Mercia Police set up "Operation Chalice" to investigate allegations that local girls were being groomed. Officers believe that up to 100 girls were affected between 2007 and 2009.[4]

According to a Channel 4 Dispatches investigation, "The Hunt for Britain's Sex Gangs" (2011), police were told that men in Telford would "ejaculate and then urinate in children's mouths". There were also allegations of "gang-rape by queues of men while girls were held hostage for hours, sometimes days—all the while being forced to listen to the screams of girls in other rooms with other men".[22][5]

Convictions

Name Age Conviction Sentence
Ahdel Ali 25 "one charge of rape, 11 charges of sexual activity with a child, three charges of controlling child prostitution, one of inciting child prostitution, a charge of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and meeting a child after grooming" 18 years[4]
Mubarek "Max" Ali 29 "four charges of controlling child prostitution, two of trafficking in the UK for sexual exploitation and a charge of causing child prostitution" 14 years[4]
Mohammed Islam Choudhrey 54 "paying for sex with a Telford schoolgirl" 2 years 6 months[4]
Mohammed Ali Sultan 26 "having sex with two teenage girls, one of whom was 13 years old" 7 years[4]
Mohammed Younis 61 "allowing his flat to be used as a brothel by allowing a man to have sex with a girl who was being controlled as a prostitute" 2 years 6 months[4]
Mahroof Khan 35 "having sex with a 15-year-old girl" 2 years 6 months[4]
Tanveer Ahmed 40 "controlling a child prostitute" 2 years 6 months[4]

Call for inquiry

In September 2016, the Conservative MP for Telford, Lucy Allan, called for an inquiry.[23] She said she had had a meeting with a victim of the abuse, who told her that many of the worst offenders had not been prosecuted and were still living in the area. Allan said that she would be asking the prime minister, Theresa May, to take action.[24]

See also

References

  1. ^ Bird, Steve (9 December 2017). "Grooming gangs of Muslim men failed to integrate into British society". The Daily Telegraph. 
  2. ^ "British-Pakistani researchers say 84% of grooming gang members are Asian: 'It's very important we talk about it'". The Independent. 
  3. ^ Grooming gang study reveals 84% are Asian The Times
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Operation Chalice: Child sex abuse case concludes", BBC News, 10 May 2013.
  5. ^ a b "TV special to expose sex ring investigation in Shropshire". Shropshire Star. 19 May 2013. Retrieved 1 August 2015. 
  6. ^ Ben, Sxxsmith (14 March 2018). "Britain's Grooming Gang Crisis". Quillette. Retrieved 1 June 2018. 
  7. ^ Bulman, May (4 September 2016). "Town council accused of 'whitewashing' its own investigation into child sex abuse", The Independent.
  8. ^ "Population characteristics". Telford and Wreckin Council Website. Telford and Wrekin is home to some 169,400 people living in 73,400 households (June 2016). Retrieved 12 March 2018. 
  9. ^ "Horror of Telford girls' sex abuse ordeal". The Shropshire Star. 10 May 2013. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  10. ^ "Telford faces up to child sex abuse cases", BBC News, 10 May 2013.
  11. ^ "Britain's 'worst ever' child grooming scandal exposed: Hundreds of young girls raped, beaten, sold for sex and some even KILLED". The Daily Mirror. The vast majority of those targeted were young white girls but teenagers from the Asian community also fell victim. 
  12. ^ "Britain's 'worst ever' child grooming scandal exposed: Hundreds of young girls raped, beaten, sold for sex and some even KILLED". The Daily Mirror. By Nick Sommerlad & Geraldine McKelvie 09:08, 11 MAR 2018. Retrieved 11 March 2018. 
  13. ^ "Telford sex gangs 'targeted and MURDERED girls as young as 11' in abuse scandal set to be 'even bigger than Rochdale'". The Sun. By Erica Doyle Higgins 11th March 2018, 1:09 am. Retrieved 11 March 2018. [better source needed]
  14. ^ "Up to 1000 children drugged, beaten and raped in Telford grooming scandal". Metro News. By Zoe Drewett Sunday 11 Mar 2018 9:51 am. Retrieved 11 March 2018. 
  15. ^ "Child grooming scandal exposed in Midland town - with claims hundreds raped, beaten, sold for sex and even killed". Birmingham Live. By Nick Sommerlad, Geraldine McKelvieJames RodgerAdvanced Content Writer 12:16, 11 MAR 2018 "Authorities failed to keep details of abusers from Asian communities for fear of “racism”". Retrieved 11 March 2018. 
  16. ^ Sommerlad, Nick (11 March 2018). "UK's 'worst ever' child grooming scandal with 100s of girls sold for sex exposed". mirror. Retrieved 11 March 2018. 
  17. ^ "Telford MP in new call for inquiry into 'extremely shocking' abuse in the town". The Jersey Evening Post. 
  18. ^ Andrews, Mark. "Telford sex-crime claims 'sensationalised', says police chief". www.shropshirestar.com. Retrieved 2018-03-16. 
  19. ^ "Telford chief disputes abuse scale reports". BBC News. 2018-03-14. Retrieved 2018-03-16. 
  20. ^ "Telford chief disputes abuse scale reports". BBC News. 2018-03-14. Retrieved 2018-03-16. 
  21. ^ Correspondent, Neil Johnston, Midlands (2018-03-14). "Telford child sex abuse claims 'sensationalised', says police chief". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 2018-03-16. 
  22. ^ "Britain's Sex Gangs". Channel 4. 22 May 2013. Archived from the original on 8 June 2013. Retrieved 22 May 2013. 
  23. ^ "MP Lucy Allan calls for Telford child sex abuse inquiry", BBC News, 26 October 2016.
  24. ^ "MP Lucy Allan demands new Telford child sex abuse inquiry". Shropshire Star. 12 September 2016. Retrieved 23 September 2016. 
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