|One of Muslim Grooming Gangs from UK.|
The conviction of 17 Muslim men and one woman in Newcastle in August restarted the national debate on grooming. Grooming gangs across the country are repeating the horrific abuse exposed in Rotherham, Rochdale, Oxford and most recently Newcastle, victims and investigators have warned.
There are mounting calls for nationwide action to combat sexual exploitation, with authorities accused of playing catch-up after ignoring victims “for decades and decades”. Sammy Woodhouse, who was abused as a teenager by the Rotherham ringleader Arshid “Mad Ash” Hussain and has waived her right to anonymity, said abuse was underway “all over the country”.
“It’s an issue for every town and city, more people are being failed,” she told The Independent. “I’m hearing a lot of new complaints from survivors. Some are saying they have been to the police and didn’t get taken seriously, others are getting support. But I think the Government is still trying to play this down and make out it’s not a major issue – they are not doing enough.”
Her calls for action came as figures show that in Bradford 1,153 referrals were made to its child sexual exploitation team in 2016/17 – a 62 per cent increase on the year before. Bradford Metropolitan District Council’s specialist hub launched interventions for 861 children – including many who were referred more than once. The vast majority of possible victims are girls.
Ms Woodhouse said she had also noted a growing number of grooming victims contacting her who were from the city. Authorities behind an investigation that identified more than 700 women and girls as potential victims of sexual exploitation in North East England believe the abuse is happening far beyond areas where perpetrators have been caught.
Pat Ritchie, the chief executive of Newcastle City Council, said “any area that says it does not have a problem is simply not looking for it. We do not believe that what we have uncovered is unique to Newcastle.”
Chief constable Steve Ashman of Northumbria Police told The Independent: “I think there’s every likelihood that this is happening in every town and city across the country.” Dame Vera Baird, victims lead for the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC), also fears grooming is taking place nationwide.
She told The Independent that investigators in Newcastle found that women and girls were being trafficked beyond the city, suggesting “there is a market” elsewhere. Dame Vera, who is the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, said the race or religion of perpetrators did not “make the slightest bit of difference” to investigators. “I think an important point to make is some of the victims were Asian as well,” she added. “This is about misogyny, and young women are in vulnerable situations whatever their race or anything related to that.”
Ms Woodhouse, who is now 32, said she knew one girl who was “read statements from the Quran” while being raped and said she was made to eat halal, while Mad Ash wanted to make her his second wife under Sharia law.
The proportion of white British victims of sexual exploitation prompted intense national debate in August, where the former director of public prosecution Lord McDonald called grooming a “profoundly racist crime”, despite a judge later finding victims in Newcastle were not targeted by race.
Men from a wide range of nationalities, races and religions have been prosecuted as part of grooming gangs but the prevalence of abusers from Pakistani and Bangladeshi backgrounds has been a point of controversy.
Ms Woodhouse was outraged by the sacking of Rotherham MP Sarah Champion from the Shadow Cabinet over a newspaper article in her name that claimed “Britain has a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls”. She warned that if British society does not have “open and honest conversations” on the factors and attitudes driving grooming, the far-right will be able to control the debate.
“There’s more than the religion factor involved,” Ms Woodhouse added. “Abusers see girls and women are there to have sex, like we’re their property. There’s so much controversy but we need to talk about it.”
Lawyers defending alleged abusers in court have stated that several perpetrators were in forced marriages or under cultural restrictions that made them unable to have normal or varied relationships. Dipu Ahad, a councillor in Newcastle, said grooming was not just an issue for South Asian communities, adding “the only box they fit into is of abusers”.
“In the biggest cases we’ve seen recently, we can’t deny they’re Asian men,” he told The Independent. “This is an opportunity to look at how we use our communities, our culture, our religion to combat these issues.” Mr Ahad said the grooming gangs in Rotherham, Rochdale, Oxford and Newcastle were “not followers of Islam but were from Muslim communities”.
He called for ethnic minority groups to be given the tools to debate views on women and relationships without making them feel targeted, adding: “Discussions need to happen now because God forbid there might be another city or another town.”
In Bradford, white children were over-represented in the latest figures among those affected compared to the general population, making up 70 per cent of open cases, compared to 16 per cent Asian and 7 per cent mixed.
Seventeen men and one woman have been found guilty of involvement in a sex grooming network in Newcastle upon Tyne that plied vulnerable women and girls with drink and drugs before assaulting them.
In a series of four trials at Newcastle crown court, juries found the men guilty of a catalogue of nearly 100 offences – including rape, human trafficking, conspiracy to incite prostitution and drug supply – between 2011 and 2014.
The men befriended more than 20 victims and invited them to “sessions” at properties, mostly in the west end of the city. The girls were lured by the offer of alcohol and drugs, in particular mephedrone (“Mkat”) and cannabis, and were expected to offer sexual services in return for the substances.
The victims, all females between 13 and 25, were targeted because they were vulnerable and because they were less likely to complain because of their circumstances, the prosecution argued. The court heard accounts of young women who were drugged before waking up to find themselves undressed, having been sexually assaulted. The men – some of whom were related or friends since childhood – were convicted in four interlinked trials that have run over more than two years.
The trials were the result of police investigation Operation Shelter, which fell under the umbrella of Operation Sanctuary – Northumbria police’s investigation into the sexual exploitation of children and adults with vulnerabilities. Police identified as many as 108 potential victims in Operation Shelter and 278 victims in the wider Operation Sanctuary.
Operation Shelter has clear similarities to grooming scandals in Rotherham and Rochdale, which featured gangs of British Asian men abusing white girls. The men in operation Shelter are from a wider range of backgrounds, including Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Indian, Iraqi, Iranian and Turkish.
No evidence from the informant, a British-Asian man in his 30s with links to the defendants, was put before the jury. The NSPCC condemned the use of the man, saying it raised serious questions about the force’s approach to child sexual exploitation operations. The police argued that it would not have been possible to uncover the crimes in Operation Shelter “using conventional methods”.
Northumbria police’s outgoing chief constable, Steve Ashman, said the sexual exploitation of vulnerable people was “the challenge of our generation”. He added: “Operation Sanctuary was the most complex investigation in the force’s history. There is a wider debate to be had as to how this is to be tackled moving forward. “I am confident that we are getting this right, we will never stop pursuing those responsible, and we will throw everything we can at them and we will catch them.”
In the final trial, which concluded on Wednesday, Habibur Rahim, 34, was found guilty of rape, the trafficking of seven victims, conspiracy to incite prostitution against seven victims, as well as drugs offences.
Abdul Sabe, 40, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit sexual assault against two victims, trafficking for the purpose of sexual assault against four victims and conspiracy to incite prostitution against four victims, as well as drugs offences
Badrul Hussain, 37, was found guilty of providing premises for the supply of cocaine, mephedrone and cannabis. Mohibur Rahman, 44, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to incite prostitution for gain, three counts of providing mephedrone and two counts of providing premises for the supply of mephedrone.
The court heard that on April 2014, an 18-year-old victim fell asleep while intoxicated by mephedrone. She awoke to her find herself on a bed with her trousers down, Rahim next to her and a wardrobe against the door. She said Rahim told her: “We just done it.” He was convicted of rape.
The court heard that Rahim attempted to persuade victims to have sex with his friends, with one complainant saying she did it “out of loyalty to him”. Rahim argued that all of the witnesses testifying against him were liars, that the police were racist and that he was a victim.
Giving evidence, an off-duty probation officer described how she was on a night out in Tynemouth, North Tyneside, when she saw Sabe ushering a group of young girls into the back of a black 4x4. She called the police as she knew Sabe to be on the sex offenders register.
After the report, police visited Sabe and Rahim at Sabe’s flat in Walker, Newcastle. The pair were given warnings for cannabis possession and an entry was put on the police log to say “nothing untoward” had happened.
The victim told how she and the other women had been drinking cans of lager and smoking cannabis when the police arrived. She said everyone in the car was searched but Rahim was then allowed to drive away.
The court was told how on one occasion a father was called to collect his daughter from a house on Northcote Street, where a number of the crimes were committed, at 12.15am on 27 March 2014. He described how he saw her coming towards him barefoot carrying a glass of orange liquid, “clothing in disarray, highly intoxicated”.
The jury was told that the men had no respect for their victims and that they chose them because they were “easy targets”. The court heard that in April 2014, Badrul Hussain – who was found guilty of providing premises for drug supply – was caught traveling on public transport without a ticket.
The female ticket inspector claimed that he shouted at her: “All white women are only good for one thing. For men like me to fuck and use like trash. That’s all women like you are worth.”
The allegations against the men in Operation Shelter came to light in December 2013 after two separate allegations made near the same time – one of a serious sexual assault made to police by a young women and the other by two teenagers aged 14 and 15 speaking to a social worker. The first charges were brought in February 2015.
After media coverage of arrests made as part of the investigation, two more complainants attended Byker police station on 17 February 2014 to report crimes.
A woman, Carolann Gallon, 23, also pleaded guilty to three counts of trafficking for sexual exploitation. The majority of those convicted in the trials are due to be sentenced on 4 September this year.
The decision to prosecute Gallon was taken by the director of public prosecutions after it was decided that she was not a victim, but part of the gang. She pleaded guilty to transporting children to locations where the intention was that they would be subject to sexual offences.
Although many of the defendants were charged with conspiracy to incite prostitution for gain, there is no suggestion that any of the victims were sex workers. Like other prominent child sex grooming cases, Shelter involves the “boyfriend model” of sexual exploitation, where a vulnerable person is encouraged to believe they are in a loving relationship with their abuser.
‘Conspiracy of Silence’: Britain’s Towns Where Girls Were Raped byMuslim Grooming Gangs for Decades
Newcastle has joined a list of British cities where grooming gangs, made up of predominantly Pakistani Muslim men, systematically rape and abuse vulnerable, white girls. A nationwide pattern emerged after the first prosecutions in Rotherham, and then Rochdale, where a “culture of silence” and political correctness led to inaction by authorities who feared being called “racist”.
Thousands of girls were raped and abused by Muslim grooming gangs since the late 1980s with cases largely going ignored until 2001. One Rotherham rape survivor said that authorities did nothing and made her feel like she was a racist, being told specifically not to comment on the ethnicity of the perpetrators.
A former police detective who helped prosecute a Rochdale grooming gang claimed a conspiracy of cover-ups “goes right to the top of Government”, and said there were still paedophiles at large in the town.
On Wednesday, 17 mostly Muslim men (of Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Iranian, Iraqi, Kurdish, Turkish, Albanian, and Eastern European heritage) and one white woman were convicted of nearly 100 offences against girls and women in Newcastle, in the largest case of its kind since Rotherham and Rochdale.
It was also revealed that police had paid a convicted child rapist nearly £10,000 to work as an informant on the case. Speaking at a press conference, the head of Newcastle Council stressed the scandal was “not unique” to the city, adding: “Indeed, there has been evidence of similar [grooming gangs] offending in many other towns and cities.”
– Rotherham –
The Rotherham child grooming gang scandal, described as “the biggest child protection scandal in UK history”, was exposed in 2010 after five Pakistani Muslim men were jailed for sexual offences against underage girls following Operation Central. Subsequent operations and trials led to a further 20 convictions.
In total, there were more than 1,400 victims in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013. The 2015 Casey report found that Rotherham Council had a “bullying” culture of “covering up uncomfortable truths, silencing whistle-blowers and paying off staff rather than dealing with difficult issues”.
In August 2015, Breitbart London reported that more than 160 police officers were under investigation over allegations they systematically ignored complaints of widespread child sexual exploitation.
– Rochdale –
Nine men, again, of Pakistani Muslim origin, were convicted in 2012 of rape and sex trafficking with 47 girls being identified as victims of the Greater Manchester grooming gang. By spring 2017, all but two rapists had been released and four were using taxpayers’ money to fight deportation to Pakistan.
The scandal returned to public prominence when the BBC aired the drama Three Girls based on the experiences of some of the victims. A former detective who helped prosecute a Muslim grooming gang says offenders identified during the original investigation are still at large in Rochdale.
– Oxford –
In 2013, seven men (five Pakistani and two African) were convicted with five receiving “life” sentences and two sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment. Some 370 white girls from deprived backgrounds or abusive homes, generally aged 12 to 15 years old, were systematically raped, drugged, and threatened. The gang operated in Oxford, the city of dreaming spires, over a span of 15 years.
One victim told Breitbart London that girls in the city are still being targetted because police refuse to act. Some of her own attackers still work as taxi drivers, businessmen, and are even on the local council, she said.
– Bristol –
In 2016, a Somali rape gang was jailed for “chilling”, “degrading”, and sometimes “violent” sexual abuse and sex trafficking of teenage girls as young as 13 years old in Bristol. In a description similar to other rape gang cases across the country, the court heard how the abuse became “routine” and the men regarded their victims as “cheap and easy”.
– Aylesbury –
In the picturesque Buckinghamshire village, six Pakistani men were convicted for grooming and raping two vulnerable girls aged 12 and 13 between 2006 and 2012. Again, a children’s charity claimed to have warned authorities about the rape gang, but police allegedly took “insufficient action”. One Conservative Muslim town councillor admitted that some in the Muslim community “take the view that the victim is partly to blame. They believe it takes two to tango.”
In 2017, police in Keighley began investigating almost 200 cases of child sex abuse, with 167 suspects, prompting fears of a ‘new Rochdale’ grooming gang in the small Yorkshire town. Local Conservative MP Kris Hopkins warned that the town is “top of the list” for ‘Asian’ grooming gangs targeting white children to be sexually abused.
– Huddersfield –
In April 2017, 29 individuals appeared in court on over 170 charges of rape, child abduction, trafficking, drug dealing, and other crimes following a child sex abuse inquiry. The alleged offences are said to have been carried out in Huddersfield by 27 mostly Muslim men and two women between 2004 and 2011. Their victims were girls aged between 11 and 17.
– Derby –
In late 2010, nine men were convicted in three separate trials for cruising the streets of Derby, targeting and raping young girls. Many of the victims said they were given alcohol or drugs before being forced to have sex in cars, houses, or hotels across the Midlands. Twenty-seven girls came forward, the oldest 18 and the youngest 12.
– Peterborough –
A gang of men and boys befriended and then raped vulnerable girls, subjecting them to intimidation, violence, and “appalling” abuse in places such as children’s playgrounds. Two men, Zdeno Mirga, 18, and Hassan Abdulla, 33, and five boys were convicted in 2014 of sexually abusing five teenage girls aged 13 and 14.
– Telford –
Police in Telford were accused of ignoring child sex abuse after it emerged volunteers had been passing evidence of grooming to them for three years. Trained church volunteers began to pass information to police following Operation Chalice, an investigation into a child prostitution ring in Telford. The police probe saw seven Pakistani men jailed on charges of rape, trafficking, and prostitution of girls as young as 13.
ROTHERHAM has become a byword for scandal — a town where the sexual exploitation of hundreds of young white girls by Asian grooming gangs went on under the the noses of authorities for years and even decades.
But how was the systematic abuse uncovered, who were among the twisted offenders and who helped speak up for the victims? Ashrid, Basharat and Bannaras Hussain, Qurban Ali, Karen MacGregor and Shelley Davies were jailed for over a hundred years between them for sickening child abuse offences in Rotherham.
|Paki gang leader Shabir Ahmed.|
A series of articles by journalist Andrew Norfolk in The Times revealed the vast scale of child protection failings in the town — saying that the police and social services knew of but did little about the danger Asian grooming gangs posed.
These investigations coincided with the conviction of 12 men of predominantly British Pakistani heritage for running a vast child abuse ring in nearby Rochdale in May 2012. Their victims numbered 47 mainly white girls who ringleader Shabir Ahmed, 59, accused of being "prostitutes" and willing sexual participants. He was handed a 19-year sentence.
Pressure mounted on Rotherham Council to investigate the scale of its own problem, and in August 2014 the independently commissioned Jay report shocked the country. It revealed that at least 1,400 children, most of them white girls aged 11–15, had been sexually abused in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013 by predominantly British-Pakistani men.
Police, schools, social workers and other authorities largely turned a blind eye on the abuse, the report said, out of fear of being branded racist. It added that horrific rape, threats, violence, and child pregnancies, miscarriages and abortions were rife. Rotherham's entire Council executive resigned, as did its Director of Child Services and the Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire police.
A 2015 government report by Louise Casey into Rotherham Council found that bullying and intimidation by council staff led to a silencing of whistleblowers and was it "not fit for purpose". Subsequent trials of twisted child abusers have taken place.
In 2016 and so far in 2017 as many as 19 men and two women have been convicted. The worst offenders, brothers Ashrid, Basharat and Bannaras Hussain, were jailed for 35 years, 25 years and 19 years respectively in February 2016.
They were jailed alongside their uncle Qurban Ali, who was handed 10 years, as well as associates Karen MacGregor, jailed for 13 years, and Shelley Davies who was handed an 18-month suspended sentence.
In November 2016, Sageer Hussain, Ishtiaq Khaliq, Waleed Ali, Masoued Malik, Asif Ali, Naeem Rafiq, and Mohammed Whied were jailed for between 19 years and five years. Basharat Hussain was given another seven years to add to his 25-year sentence.
Sarah Champion said a fear of being labelled racist stopped people tackling child sexual exploitation. SoWho is MP Sarah Champion?
Sarah Champion MP is the Labour member for Rotherham who helped with investigations into, and supported victims of, abuse in the town. In response to the Jay Report, which uncovered the shocking 1,400 victims of abuse, she asked the then Home Secretary Theresa May for more resources to tackle the abuse and bring offenders to justice.
She also called for additional funding for victim support and in November 2014 she called on the Prime Minister David Cameron to ensure government departments work together to prevent horrific abuse on such a scale to happen again.
In response to another vast child abuse ring uncovered in Newcastle, she wrote in The Sun that "Britain has a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls". Supporters of hard left leader Jeremy Corbyn are thought to have put pressure on Mrs Champion to step down for what they perceived as racism.
In August 2017 Mrs Champion was forced by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to resign from the Shadow Cabinet for bravely speaking out about the problem of Asian grooming gangs in the UK.
Andrew Norfolk, the reporter who helped uncover the Rotherham abuse in the first place, wrote: "Sarah Champion has fallen victim to the same liberal squeamishness that for years allowed street-grooming sex crimes against young white girls to flourish unchecked."
|Paki Labour MP Naz Shah wants the rape victims to shut up like the girls in Pakistan|
where the rape victims are normally killed for getting raped and not shutting up.
(Labour MP for Rotherham and Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities comments on a horrific trend in grooming and sexual abuse by gangs.)
BRITAIN has a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls. There. I said it. Does that make me a racist? Or am I just prepared to call out this horrifying problem for what it is?
For too long we have ignored the race of these abusers and, worse, tried to cover it up. No more. These people are predators and the common denominator is their ethnic heritage. We have to have grown-up conversations, however unpalatable, or in six months’ time we will be having this same scenario all over again.
The irony of all of this is that, by not dealing with the ethnicity of the abusers as a fact, political correctness has actually made the situation about race. The perpetrators are criminals and we need to deal with them as such, not shy away from doing the right thing by fearing being called a racist.
I became the Member of Parliament for Rotherham in November 2012 and, within a month, I heard the abbreviation CSE (child sexual exploitation) for the first time. Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council had been hauled in front of the Home Affairs Select Committee to justify their failure to protect young girls who were victims of this vile crime.
I sat stunned in the committee room, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It was shocking. Mainly white pubescent girls were being sexually groomed and exploited by gangs of mainly British Pakistani men. I had to do something. I would not be another person who turned a blind eye to these crimes.
Working with the children’s charity Barnardo’s, I launched a cross-party parliamentary inquiry into child sexual exploitation. We found that the judges were not properly supporting the victims in court.
Following my inquiry, judges and the police receive better training and are now more aware of the crime. I changed the law on grooming. However, victims did not — and still do not — get better support.
Jump to August 2014. Professor Alexis Jay releases her report into the failings in Rotherham. She conservatively estimates that there are 1,400 victims of child sexual exploitation in the town by British Pakistani men. There is international outrage and the Government commissions a report by Dame Louise Casey. She confirms Alexis Jay’s report to be accurate.
February 2015. I spend four hours at 10 Downing Street with David Cameron and his cabinet. I present a simple five-point plan outlining how to prevent child sexual exploitation:
1. Set up a task force of experts
Two-and-a-half years later we have warm words and still no action. In fact, it is worse as we have less police, cuts to social workers, education, children’s services, courts and the Crown Prosecution Service.
|Sarah Champion MP.|
However, as the latest case in Newcastle proves, we must accept that for gang-related child sexual exploitation, the convictions have largely been against British Pakistani men. The Government must act now to understand why this is.
We have a large group of men behind bars, let’s do some research and find out why these monsters think it is acceptable to abuse children in this way. Unless we know why they do, we can’t prevent it. Our children deserve better.