Asian grooming gangs 'abused underage girls for decades'

Asian grooming gangs trafficked underage girls into Birmingham and abused them for ‘decades’ despite being reported to police, survivor claims

  • Sarah, not her real name, claims to have reported abuse to police in 2012  
  • She says she was abused by predatory gangs in Derby in the early 2000s 
  • Adds that West Midlands police saw her with abusers but did nothing  

Asian grooming gangs trafficked underage girls into Birmingham and abused them for decades despite being reported to police, according to one survivor.  

Sarah, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, says she reported the names of her various abusers to Derbyshire Police in 2012.

But she says none of the offenders have ever been brought to justice in the same way similar gangs were in Telford and Rotherham. 

A gang of six men was jailed in 2018 for a total of 101 years after sexually exploiting five vulnerable teenage girls in Rotherham between 1998 and 2005. The gang members – all Asian men from Sheffield and Rotherham – were convicted of offences including rape and indecent assault. 

Sarah has revealed that she was abused by predatory gangs when she was a runaway from care homes in Derby in the early 2000s.  

Sarah (stock photo), whose name has been changed to protect her identity, says she reported the names of her various abusers to Derbyshire Police in 2012 but none of the offenders have been brought to justice in the same way similar gangs were in Telford and Rotherham

She said Asian men of Pakistani heritage would regularly take her and friends from care homes to Birmingham where she was plied with drink and drugs and abused.

In one incident, she claims West Midlands Police officers stopped a car she was in with a group of abusers and another girl.

Despite taking the underage youngsters’ names and ages she says she was allowed on her way with the gang.  

Sarah said: ‘Birmingham police stopped the car and took mine and my friend’s names and the men’s names. I was really scared as I didn’t know what was going to happen but the police just let us drive off.

‘When we later got back to my care home the staff told me the police had rung and said we’d been stopped with really dangerous men. I thought, ”Well if they were that dangerous why did you leave us with them?”

Sarah says she was extensively groomed and abused in Derby and later repeatedly trafficked between Derby, Birmingham and Bradford by men from Birmingham and Derby.

She said: ‘I gave Derby police my Birmingham offenders’ names – but no one has ever been charged.

‘I know of lots of Derby girls who were groomed in Birmingham, I don’t know why we don’t see high profile grooming cases in court in Birmingham like we have seen elsewhere in the country.’

Sarah, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, says she reported the names of her various abusers to Derbyshire Police in 2012 but none of the offenders have been brought to justice

She added: ‘I was groomed and abused between 1999 and 2003. And I was really horrendously groomed in Birmingham. It wasn’t just me, lots of girls, and lots of girls I know, were taken from Derby to be abused in Birmingham.’ 

Sarah said she has been awarded more than £150,000 after suing two councils recently for failing to protect her while she was in the care system.  

She said: ‘My care files are full of references to the abuse, the care home staff would note down who I went off with, who dropped me off, they’d note down men’s number plates.

‘What I found the most awful thing of all was that I was really badly blamed and I was scapegoated. Social services actually wrote down that I was the main player in my own abuse by the grooming gangs – I was just 14…

‘My children’s home knew all about it, they’d seen [my abuser] drop me off, pick me up, they weren’t bothered. I would say he was probably about in his 30s.’    

She added: ‘I made lots of statements about Derby men and Birmingham men. Nothing happened at all. They said they’d spoken to some other girls, and that was it, nothing was going ahead. And I was really mentally ill at the time.

‘So just more recently some other girls have come forward and the police have contacted me but I can’t trust them at all because the men are so dangerous and the police, they’ve been so awful to me.’

She said: ‘I know it sounds stupid but I’d gone from being nothing and no one at all to being like a junkie’s daughter who stands on the corner, a waste of taxpayers’ money to just being another kid who’s then pushed around to like every single person, to everywhere I went in certain Asian areas in Birmingham and Derby, people noticing me.

‘I was being bought things and given drugs, alcohol, it sounds awful but it was almost like I felt like I was part of the gang, even though I wasn’t.’

A breakthrough did come in 2011 when Operation Retriever in Derby led to the conviction of nine men for multiple offences ranging from rape to intimidating witnesses. Their victims totalled 27 teenage girls.

So-called ringleaders Mohammed Liaqat, then aged 28, and Abid Saddique, then aged 27, were found guilty of charges including rape. Saddique was jailed for at least 11 years and Liaqat for a minimum of eight.

Ironically Operation Retriever was sparked after Staffordshire police pulled over three men and were concerned to see two young teenagers with them. They had been reported missing from a care home in Derby.

On that occasion, the officers drove the girls back to Derby and it was during that journey that they disclosed why they had been with the men. Staffordshire Police shared the information with Derbyshire officers and soon after Operation Retriever began which saw suspects put under surveillance. 

Sarah believes police were aware of grooming in Derby almost a full decade before Operation Retriever launched.

‘They did Operation Glint and I think that was in 2001,’ she said.

‘It was an undercover operation surrounding me and another girl. It’s mentioned in my care records which show that police watched and saw that we were getting in taxis with men and getting dropped off, but they (police) didn’t do anything.

‘My care records note that the operation was supposed to run for two weeks but the records say it they did only two days. So they had known about this a lot longer and it’s not come out how long they did know.’

Sarah says she met with the Children’s Commissioner who told her about Operation Glint, ‘so she would know how far back grooming in the city went’.

But she remains without justice. 

Derbyshire Police said: ‘We did receive an allegation from this particular victim but unfortunately at the time, officers were unable to gather enough evidence to secure a prosecution.

‘As part of our inquiries, our officers did liaise with another local police force to share relevant information.  

‘We welcome any new information which would allow us to carry out further investigations in this case and would urge anyone with information to come forward and speak to us.

‘We will always investigate and take reports of this nature seriously.’

On the historical Operation Glint, Derbyshire Police confirmed: ‘We did run an operation into child sexual exploitation, known as Operation Glint. It isn’t unusual for forces to run operations in this area as we look to safeguard vulnerable victims and identify offenders.’

The force claimed the operation lasted two weeks.

How a series of British towns and cities have been hit by revelations of Asian sex gangs in their midst 

Rochdale – The trial of nine men for grooming young white girls for sex attracted widespread public outrage and sparked a national debate when they were convicted in 2012.

The gang received jail sentences of between four and 19 years for offences committed against five girls – aged between 13 and 15 – in and around Rochdale between 2008 and 2010.

The case returned to the public consciousness earlier this year when the BBC broadcast its Three Girls drama based on the experiences of some of the victims.

Newcastle – A total of 17 men and one woman were convicted of, or admitted, charges including rape, supplying drugs and inciting prostitution, in Newcastle last year.

Older men preyed on immature teenagers who were plied with cocaine, cannabis, alcohol or mephedrone (M-Cat), then raped or persuaded into having sexual activity at parties known as ‘sessions’.

The case raised huge controversy after a convicted rapist was paid almost £10,000 of taxpayers’ money to spy on parties where under-age girls were intoxicated and sexually abused.

Northumbria Police launched a major investigation after receiving information from social workers and initially spoke to 108 potential victims. Over the course of four trials, 20 young women gave evidence covering a period from 2011 to 2014.

Oxford – A group of men who abused teenage girls in a vehicle they called the ‘s**gwagon’ were jailed for a total of nearly 90 years in June this year.

The men – aged 36 to 48 – befriended vulnerable girls as young as 13 before plying them drink and drugs at ‘parties’ in Oxford.

The eight men – branded ‘predatory and cynical’ by a judge – were jailed for between seven and a half and fifteen years each.

Bristol – Some 13 Somali men were jailed for more than a total of more than 100 years after they were convicted in 2014 of running an inner city sex ring.

Victims as young as 13 were preyed upon, sexually abused and trafficked across Bristol to be passed around the men’s friends for money.

Aylesbury – Six men were jailed in 2015 for grooming vulnerable under-age white girls between 2006 and 2012.

The Old Bailey heard victims would be plied with alcohol and forced to perform sex acts for as little as ‘the price of a McDonalds’.

Peterborough – A total of 10 men were convicted of child sex crimes in the town, including ‘predatory’ restaurant boss Mohammed Khubaib.

He was jailed for 13 years at the Old Bailey in 2015, after he was found guilty of forcing a 14-year-old girl to perform a sex act on him and nine counts of trafficking for sexual exploitation, involving girls aged from 12 to 15, between 2010 and 2013.

20 men were jailed for a total of more than 250 years for abuse in Huddersfield

Telford – Earlier this year, Telford became the latest town to become the focus of the now sadly familiar stories of abuse.

A Sunday Mirror investigation concluded that around 1,000 children could have been sexually exploited in the Shropshire town over a 40-year period, leading to calls for a public inquiry. 

Huddersfield – 20 sex abusers who targeted vulnerable girls as young as eleven in the Yorkshire town were jailed for a combined total of more than 220 years.  

Leeds Crown Court heard evidence from 15 victims during the trials and the judge said he fears none of them will ever recover from their ordeals.

In victim statements the girls described coming into contact with the abusers after being bullied at school and said the relationship became ‘one of those things that you couldn’t get out of’.  

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