Telford child sexual exploitation scandal
The Telford child sexual exploitation scandal is an ongoing scandal in the United Kingdom. Originally, a group of men were convicted of grooming local children for sex between 2007 and 2009 in Telford in the English county of Shropshire. While media reports had suggested 100 or more girls had been affected and around 200 perpetrators were suspected, the Sunday Mirror reported in March 2018 that up to 1,000 girls may have been abused, with some even murdered, in incidents dating back to the 1970s.
In a series of trials stretching over two years and concluding in May 2013, 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.
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, having been victims of trafficking, drugging, beating, rape and even murder. Similar with other grooming gang cases, it was alleged that the authorities failed to keep details of abusers from Asian communities for fear of being seen as racist, with police having known about gang activities since the early 1980s.
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."
The police chief for West Mercia police "significantly disputed" the figures claimed by the Daily Mirror.
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." 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."
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."
According to a Channel 4 Dispatches investigation, "The Hunt for Britain's Sex Gangs" (2013), 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".
|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|
|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|
|Mohammed Islam Choudhrey||54||"paying for sex with a Telford schoolgirl"||2 years 6 months|
|Mohammed Ali Sultan||26||"having sex with two teenage girls, one of whom was 13 years old"||7 years|
|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|
|Mahroof Khan||35||"having sex with a 15-year-old girl"||2 years 6 months|
|Tanveer Ahmed||40||"controlling a child prostitute"||2 years 6 months|
|Amjad Hussain||38||Indecent assault||4 years 6 months|
|Mohammad Rizwan||37||Indecent assault||5 years 6 months|
|Mohammed Ali Sultan||33||Rape and three counts of indecent assault||Eight years with an extended licence of two years|
Call for inquiry
In September 2016, the Conservative MP for Telford, Lucy Allan, called for an inquiry. She said she has 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 then prime minister, Theresa May, to take action.
The Telford case was one of several cases which prompted investigations looking into the claim that "the majority of the perpetrators have been British Pakistani"; the first was by Quilliam in December 2017, which released a report entitled "Group Based Child Sexual Exploitation – Dissecting Grooming Gangs", which claimed 84% of offenders were of South Asian heritage. However this report was "fiercely" criticised for its unscientific nature and poor methodology by child sexual exploitation experts Ella Cockbain and Waqas Tufail, in their paper "Failing Victims, Fuelling Hate: Challenging the Harms of the 'Muslim grooming gangs' Narrative" which was published in January 2020.
A further investigation was carried out by the British government in December 2020, when the Home Office published their findings, showing that the majority of child sexual exploitation gangs were, in fact, composed of white men and not British Pakistani men.
Research has found that group-based child sexual exploitation offenders are most commonly white. Some studies suggest an overrepresentation of black and Asian offenders relative to the demographics of national populations. However, it is not possible to conclude that this is representative of all group-based CSE offending.
Writing in The Guardian, Cockbain and Tufail wrote of the report that "The two-year study by the Home Office makes very clear that there are no grounds for asserting that Muslim or Pakistani-heritage men are disproportionately engaged in such crimes, and, citing our research, it confirmed the unreliability of the Quilliam claim".
- Bird, Steve (9 December 2017). "Grooming gangs of Muslim men failed to integrate into British society". The Daily Telegraph.
- Barnes, Tom (10 December 2017). "British-Pakistani researchers say 84% of grooming gang members are Asian: 'It's very important we talk about it'". The Independent.
- Burden, Elizabeth (11 December 2017). "Grooming gang study reveals 84% are Asian". ISSN 0140-0460.
- "Operation Chalice: Child sex abuse case concludes", BBC News, 10 May 2013.
- "TV special to expose sex ring investigation in Shropshire". Shropshire Star. 19 May 2013. Retrieved 1 August 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "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.
- Bulman, May (4 September 2016). "Town council accused of 'whitewashing' its own investigation into child sex abuse". The Independent.
- "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. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Horror of Telford girls' sex abuse ordeal". The Shropshire Star. 10 May 2013. Retrieved 6 June 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Telford faces up to child sex abuse cases", BBC News, 10 May 2013.
- Sommerlad, Nick; McKelvie, Geraldine; Rodger, James (11 March 2018). "Child grooming scandal exposed in Midland town - with claims hundreds raped, beaten, sold for sex and even killed". Birmingham Live. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
Authorities failed to keep details of abusers from Asian communities for fear of “racism”"CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- "Telford MP in new call for inquiry into 'extremely shocking' abuse in the town". The Jersey Evening Post.
- Andrews, Mark. "Telford sex-crime claims 'sensationalised', says police chief". www.shropshirestar.com. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
- "Telford chief disputes abuse scale reports". BBC News. 14 March 2018. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
- "Telford chief disputes abuse scale reports". BBC News. 14 March 2018. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
- Correspondent, Neil Johnston, Midlands (14 March 2018). "Telford child sex abuse claims 'sensationalised', says police chief". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
- "The Hunt for Britain's Sex Gangs". Channel 4. 22 May 2013. Archived from the original on 8 June 2013. Retrieved 22 May 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
- "Film | True Vision". truevisiontv.com. Retrieved 27 June 2020.
- "MP Lucy Allan calls for Telford child sex abuse inquiry", BBC News, 26 October 2016.
- "MP Lucy Allan demands new Telford child sex abuse inquiry". Shropshire Star. 12 September 2016. Retrieved 23 September 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Barnes, Tom (10 December 2017). "British-Pakistani researchers say grooming gangs are 84% Asian". The Independent. Retrieved 16 December 2020.
- Cockbain, Ella; Tufail, Waqas (2020). "Failing victims, fuelling hate: challenging the harms of the 'Muslim grooming gangs' narrative". Race & Class. 61 (3): 3–32. doi:10.1177/0306396819895727. ISSN 0306-3968.
- Kenan Malik (November 11th, 2018). We’re told 84% of grooming gangs are Asian. But where’s the evidence?. The Guardian. Archived Version. Retrieved December 25th, 2020.
- Grierson, Jamie (15 December 2020). "Most child sexual abuse gangs made up of white men, Home Office report says". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 16 December 2020.
- Cockbain, Ella; Tufail, Waqas (19 December 2020). "A new Home Office report admits grooming gangs are not a 'Muslim problem'". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 19 December 2020. Retrieved 19 December 2020.