The horrifying tales of child sexual exploitation (CSE) emerging from the English town of Rotherham by men of Pakistani descent have rocked Britain. After the suppression of many reports on CSE by the authorities in Rotherham, an independent inquiry started in October 2013 has revealed that approximately 1,400 children were sexually exploited from 1997 to 2013, mainly by British citizens of Pakistani descent. The report says, “By far the majority of perpetrators were described as ‘Asian’ by victims, yet throughout the entire period, councillors did not engage directly with the Pakistani-heritage community to discuss how best they could jointly address the issue… for fear of being thought racist.” One victim told Sky News that she was sexually exploited by “hundreds” of men, and authorities did nothing to stop them. “There was a widespread perception that messages conveyed by some senior people in the Council and also the Police, were to ‘downplay’ the ethnic dimensions of CSE,” says the report. “There was too much reliance by agencies on traditional community leaders such as elected members and imams as being the primary conduit of communication with the Pakistani-heritage community. Census information from 2011 showed that Rotherham had nearly 8,000 people with Pakistani or Kashmiri ethnicity. There are eight mosques in Rotherham,” adds the report.
“One of the local Pakistani women’s groups described how Pakistani-heritage girls were targeted by taxi drivers and on occasion by older men lying in wait outside school gates at dinner times and after school. They also cited cases in Rotherham where Pakistani landlords had befriended Pakistani women and girls on their own for purposes of sex, then passed on their name to other men who had then contacted them for sex. The women and girls feared reporting such incidents to the police because it would affect their future marriage prospects.” The report quotes the UK Muslim Women’s Network study on CSE in September 2013 which drew on 35 case studies of women from across the UK who were victims, the majority of whom were Muslims. “Offending behaviour mostly involved men operating in groups… The victim was being passed around and prostituted amongst many other men… The physical abuse included oral, anal and vaginal rape; role play; insertion of objects into the vagina; severe beatings; burning with cigarettes; tying down; enacting rape that included ripping clothes off and sexual activity over the webcam.” This description mirrors the abuse committed by Pakistani-heritage perpetrators on white girls in Rotherham.
In one case a child was doused in petrol and threatened with being set afire. Children were threatened with guns, forced to witness brutally violent rapes and were threatened that they would be the next victim if they told anyone. Girls as young as 11 were raped by large numbers of males, one after the other. One child who was being prepared to give evidence received a text saying the perpetrator had her younger sister. She withdrew her statements. Another was groomed for sexual exploitation by a 27-year-old male when she was 13, and was subjected to repeated rapes and sexual assaults by different perpetrators, none of whom were brought to justice. She repeatedly threatened to kill herself and numerous instances of serious self-harm were recorded in the case file, including serious overdoses and trying to throw herself in front of cars. The attitude of the police puzzled the commission. It says, “In two of the cases we read, fathers tracked down their daughters and tried to remove them from houses where they were being abused, only to be arrested themselves when police were called to the scene. The victims were arrested for offences such as breach of the peace or with no action taken against the perpetrators of rape and sexual assault against children.” Labour MP and shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt told BBC: “This is not just taking place in Rotherham, it is taking place across cities and communities, in children’s centres, in home environments across the country.”