Up to 1,000 girls in the small English town of Telford have been raped, forced into prostitution, beaten, and even murdered by their abusers, according to an investigation by the Sunday Mirror.
Just as with previous cases of mass sexual abuse of minors in Rotherham and Rochdale, British police, social workers, and city authorities in Telford reportedly took measures to cover up the crimes and the fact that their perpetrators were overwhelmingly of “Asian” descent (Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Indians, or Sri Lankans).
Although the Mirror report does not mention the religion of the alleged abusers, if the Telford case corresponds to the Rotherham and Rochdale incidents as closely it appears to, the Asian men are likely Muslims.
Conservative MP Lucy Allan, who represents Telford in the British Parliament, has called for a public inquiry into the allegations of systematic abuse: “There must now be an independent inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Telford so that our community can have absolute confidence in the authorities.”
Mirror reporters spoke to 12 girls who accused more than 70 men of being involved in raping and exploiting girls in the town. These girls allege that Asian grooming gangs were still abusing children as of a few months ago. Their stories are quite horrific, to say the least:
One 14-year-old, groomed and abused after her phone number was sold to paedophiles, said: “I hated what was happening and my abusers made my skin crawl but I was told that if I said a word to anyone they’d come for my little sisters and tell my mum I was a prostitute.
“Night after night, I was forced to have sex with multiple men in disgusting takeaways and filthy houses.
"I must have been getting the morning after pill from a local clinic at least twice a week but no one asked any questions.
“I fell pregnant twice and had two abortions. Hours after my second termination, I was taken by one of my abusers to be raped by more men.
"The worst moment came just after my 16th birthday when I was drugged and gang raped by five men.
"Days later, the ringleader turned up at my house and told me he’d burn it down if I breathed a word of what had happened.”
This was no idle threat. In 2000, Lucy Lowe, her mother, and her sister were burned to death in their home by Azhar Ali Mehmood, who had raped and fathered a child with Lucy two years prior to her murder. Although Mehmood was convicted and jailed for the triple-murder, he was never charged with sexual crimes for the original abuse of Lucy.
At least two other girls died after being abused by an Asian grooming gang in Telford, including one girl whose drug-related death was likely linked to her being forced by the gang to starting using crack cocaine and heroin when she was only 12 and 14 years-old, respectively.
Local police claim that they are doing everything within their power to go after child sex abusers. According to Martin Evans, who is the Assistant Chief Constable for West Mercia Police:
“Tackling such horrific offences is the number one priority for police in Telford and we have not only increased officer numbers to tackle this type of offending, but use all of our resources and technology available to prosecute anyone who sexually offends against children whether that offending took place today, yesterday or decades ago.
“Operation Chalice in 2013 was one of the first national complex critical investigations into grooming offences. It centred on historic offending in Telford and Wrekin and ultimately resulted in seven men jailed for a total of 49 years.
“Over the subsequent years we have continuously focused on this area, whilst working very closely with our communities to ensure there is confidence to report issues people become aware of. Last year officials from the Home Office paid thanks to the commitment of staff working to protect young people at risk from sexual exploitation.”
Chief Evans’s proclamations of fidelity to his community conflict with the claims of the girls and their families who spoke to the Sunday Mirror and government documents obtained by the publication, which paint a long history of local authorities doing little to nothing to combat Asian grooming gangs, even after knowing about their activities for decades.
According to their sources, groups of mostly Asian men began to target Telford girls for sex trafficking back in the early 1980s. Social workers did not have detailed information about this until the late 90s. However, even then, they and police did little to go after the sex abusers. The triple murder of the Lowe family apparently did nothing to inspire police to urgently act to address the problem.
In fact, as Evans alluded to, it wasn’t until the early 2010s that police finally did something substantive and launched Operation Chalice. However, although police caught and jailed a handful of perpetrators as a result of their investigation, cops who spoke to the Mirror said their information actually showed that up to 200 men were involved in abusing a hundred different victims between 2007 and 2009 alone. In spite of these findings, two subsequent attempts at probes into Asian grooming gangs were dropped.
In 2016, MP Lucy Allan called for a public inquiry into her constituents’ broader allegations, but officials from the Telford city council successfully wrote to UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd to oppose this measure.
The UK has some of the most stringent laws against criticizing racial minorities and Muslims in the Western world. Under the Public Order Act of 1986 and its follow-up, the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006, UK residents and citizens can be imprisoned for up to seven years for intentionally stirring up “religious hatred.” In practice, this tends to mean that people who are too outspoken in criticizing Islam are targeted, harassed, and jailed by the government.
For example, after two Muslims publicly executed Royal Fusilier Lee Rigby by running him down in a car and then hacking him to death with a cleaver and knives, British police launched a crackdown on people making "anti-Muslim" statements on Facebook and Twitter. According to Business Insider, which reported on some of the arrests at the time:
British police are arresting people in the middle of the night if they have made racist or anti-Muslim comments on Twitter following the murder of a soldier by two Muslims in Woolwich, London.
Three men have so far been taken into custody for using Twitter and Facebook to criticize Muslims.
The arrests come at the behest of British Muslims, who fear a backlash against them following the death of Rigby.
This kind of de facto blasphemy law has made it understandably difficult for local activists and journalists to publicly identify and report on Asian grooming gangs, lest they be singled out for this kind of Orwellian legal warfare themselves.
See the full report from the Sunday Mirror here.