11 Men Charged in Rochdale Child Sex Abuse Investigation

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An ongoing investigation into child sexual exploitation and grooming in England has seen 11 men charged and set to appear in court on May 3.

A total of 103 charges relates to incidents involving three teenage girls in Rochdale between 2000 and 2006, according to Greater Manchester Police.

The charges against 11 men in connection with Operation Lytton—an ongoing investigation into historical sex offences against children—include rape, penetrative sexual activity with an underage girl, gross indecency with an underage girl and making indecent images of a child, and trafficking persons within the UK for sexual exploitation.

The accused were named as follows: Tahir Rashid, 52, Mohammad Salim, 44, Suklene Shah, 44, Mohammed Shazad, 42, Nisar Hussain, 39, Naheem Akram, 46, Mohammed Zahid, 63, Roheez Khan, 37, Arfan Khan, 39, Mustaq Ahmed, 65, and Kasir Bashir, 48.

The history of grooming gangs across England goes back to 2000s and onwards. Child sexual exploitation gangs targeted girls in their early teens and even younger in towns of Rochdale, Rotherham, Oxford, Telford, and Huddersfield.

Many of the young girls lived in state care homes from the late 1980s to the early 2010s. The Rochdale child sex abuse ring operated in 2008 and 2009, when a group of Pakistani and Afghan men sexually exploited 47 young girls.

The grooming gang members were only convicted in May 2012, even though victims consistently reported the incidents to police immediately after they took place.

Police forces and local politicians were later accused of ignoring those who reported the crimes.

Cultural Sensitivities

Back in 2018, then-Home Secretary Sajid Javid said it was “self-evident” that there are a high proportion of men of Pakistani heritage involved in recent high-profile child sex abuse cases and that it would be wrong to dismiss this sensitive information. He was referring to the Rochdale grooming scandal.

“There could be—and I’m not saying there are—some cultural reasons from the community that those men came from that could lead to this type of behaviour. For me to rule something out just because it would be considered sensitive would be wrong,” he added.

In August 2018, the UK’s Court of Appeal upheld a rule to strip three members of the Rochdale grooming gang of their British citizenship, in a move that was hailed by Javid.

However, four years later and despite a court decision, it is yet unclear whether the three men have actually been deported from the UK. The Epoch Times has requested clarification from the Home Office on the matter.

The current leadership at Westminster plans to “stamp out” grooming gangs who target children and young women and prevent injustice rooted in cultural sensitivities.

In a statement on April 3, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced the launch of a new Grooming Gangs Taskforce, which will see specialist officers and data analyists supporting police across the country to  root out grooming gangs.

The statement stipulated that the new measures will include police recording ethnicity data to make sure suspects cannot evade justice because of cultural sensitivities.

“The safety of women and girls is paramount. For too long, political correctness has stopped us from weeding out vile criminals who prey on children and young women. We will stop at nothing to stamp out these dangerous gangs,” Sunak said.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman has also spoken out against child sexual abuse, calling it “one of the most horrific crimes facing our society.”

She confirmed the government’s commitment to bring in mandatory reporting for adults who work with children and suspect that the child is being abused.

“The protection of children is a collective effort. Every adult must be supported to call out child sexual abuse without fear. And the despicable abusers must be brought to justice. They should not be able to hide. And they must face the full force of the law for their crimes,” she said.

National inquiries into grooming gangs and child sexual abuse, including an investigation by the National Crime Agency, have uncovered hundreds of suspects linked to allegations of abuse and child exploitation across England.

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