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 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[edit]

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,[6] 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,[11] 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."[12]

The police chief for West Mercia police "significantly disputed" the figures claimed by the Daily Mirror.[13]

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."[14] 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."[15]

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."[16]

Operation Chalice[edit]

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".[17][5]

Convictions[edit]

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[edit]

In September 2016, the Conservative MP for Telford, Lucy Allan, called for an inquiry.[18] 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.[19]

References[edit]

  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. ^ a b "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.
  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. ^ 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: multiple names: authors list (link)
  12. ^ "Telford MP in new call for inquiry into 'extremely shocking' abuse in the town". The Jersey Evening Post.
  13. ^ Andrews, Mark. "Telford sex-crime claims 'sensationalised', says police chief". www.shropshirestar.com. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  14. ^ "Telford chief disputes abuse scale reports". BBC News. 14 March 2018. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  15. ^ "Telford chief disputes abuse scale reports". BBC News. 14 March 2018. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ "Britain's Sex Gangs". Channel 4. 22 May 2013. Archived from the original on 8 June 2013. Retrieved 22 May 2013.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  18. ^ "MP Lucy Allan calls for Telford child sex abuse inquiry", BBC News, 26 October 2016.
  19. ^ "MP Lucy Allan demands new Telford child sex abuse inquiry". Shropshire Star. 12 September 2016. Retrieved 23 September 2016.