Since when is luring young girls with drugs and alcohol, kidnapping and selling them to be raped termed “grooming”? Apparently only when Pakistani Muslims, err “Asians”, do it. Do these guys look “Asian”?
Mistakes by police, social services and the Crown Prosecution Service led to potentially dozens of young girls being raped, beaten and trafficked by a child exploitation ring, it emerged yesterday.
A failure in 2008 to believe a 15-year-old girl’s evidence that she had been systematically groomed at the hands of a network of taxi drivers and takeaway workers in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, led to at least two more years of abuse being meted out to the gang’s victims, many of whom have still not come forward.
Nine men were described as “pure evil” by detectives as they were convicted at Liverpool Crown Court for the on-street grooming of vulnerable young people.
The 11-week trial heard how the girls, aged between 13 and 15, were befriended with the offer of alcohol and drugs, kebabs, or mobile-phone credits by the older men at late-night outlets before being sexually exploited by up to 50 men across the North of England. One 15-year-old victim described how she was forced to have sex with up to 20 men in one day. Another told how she was raped by two men as she was being sick from alcohol. Police interviewed 47 potential victims but proceedings were only bought in connection with five of them.
In the end, the panel of nine women and three men took five days to find Kabeer Hassan, Abdul Aziz, Abdul Rauf, Mohammed Sajid, Adil Khan, Abdul Qayyum, Mohammed Amin, Hamid Safi and a 59-year-old man – who cannot be named for legal reasons – guilty of exploiting the five young victims on 25 of the 35 charges they faced.
Two defendants, Liaquat Shah, 41, and Qamar Shahzad, 30, both of Rochdale, were cleared of all charges.
Det Ch Supt Mary Doyle, head of public protection at Greater Manchester Police, said the men subjected their victims to years of degradation. “It was pure evil. They were exploiting the vulnerable in our society for their own gratification,” she said.
The men, who were predominantly of Pakistani descent, passed the girls around the network, paying their victims to recruit other young people for them to abuse. A teenage girl referred to by the gang as the “Honey Monster”, who helped procure victims, was not charged in the public interest.
Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, accused Pakistani community elders of “burying their heads in the sand” on the issue of on-street grooming.
He said: “There is a significant problem for the British Pakistani community; there is an over-representation amongst recent convictions in the crime of on-street grooming. There should be no silence in addressing the issue of race as this is central to the actions of these criminals. They think that white teenage girls are worthless and can be abused without a second thought; it is this sort of behaviour that is bringing shame on our community.”
Race or Islam?