Tuesday, March 13, 2018
On Monday, Lucy Allan MP (Member of Parliament) called for a public inquiry into an alleged child sexual exploitation ring in Telford, Shropshire, England, which may have been operating for 40 years and had as many as a thousand girls as victims. This came in direct response to an investigative report by the Sunday Mirror the previous day. Allan wants an independent inquiry, similar that for the Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal, which came to light in 2012 and had a similar scale and duration.
The Mirror alleges that hundreds of girls were raped, beaten, drugged and sold for sex. Victims were as young as 11 and at least three were killed. Details of negligence and outright misconduct by the authorities, including local council staff, the police and social workers, are also contained in the exposé.
"There must now be an independent inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Telford so that our community can have absolute confidence in the authorities," Allan said. "The IICSA will not investigate whether any of the authorities in Telford should be accountable. That is why we must have an independent inquiry into what happened in Telford; such an inquiry is outside the current scope of the IICSA."
IICSA is the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, which plans to look into the Telford situation, according to the BBC. In 2013, Operation Chalice saw the breakup of a child sex grooming ring in Telford with seven men of South Asian origin convicted. However, if the Mirror's report is accurate, it was only the tip of the iceberg.
Some of the alleged failings by authorities include social workers being aware of abuse without a police investigation for up to a decade; classifying underage girls as prostitutes instead of victims; not keeping records of alleged perpetrators out of fear it could look like racism; police not investigating despite five reports being filed. The Mirror also said the authorities actively tried to obstruct their investigation.
"Child sexual exploitation [CSE] is a vile, evil crime. It’s an issue right across the UK and has been for a long time. Telford will be covered by the national CSE review. We welcome this. All agencies continue to work very closely together and this remains our top priority," said a spokesperson for Telford and Wrekin Council according to Russia Today. "Our approach to CSE is now very different from 10-20 years ago. We have learned lots of lessons and are constantly on the lookout for indicators of CSE so that we can pass information on to police and bring these evil criminals to justice. Indeed, further cases are now coming to court."
== Sources ==
Nick Sommerlad and Geraldine McKelvie. "Britain's 'worst ever' child grooming scandal exposed: Hundreds of young girls raped, beaten, sold for sex and some even KILLED" — Sunday Mirror, March 11, 2018
"Up to 1,000 children may have been victims in worst UK abuse ring" — The Guardian, March 12, 2018
"Inquiry call over Telford child sex exploitation" — BBC News, March 12, 2018
"Hundreds of underage girls raped, sold for sex & murdered by child-grooming ring in UK" — Russia Today, March 12, 2018
"Operation Chalice: Child sex abuse case concludes" — BBC News, May 10, 2013