MORE than 50 men have been arrested over historic child sex abuse allegations in West Yorkshire, police confirmed on Monday (14).
Detectives arrested the suspects in Dewsbury, Batley and Bradford during the past few months in connection to an ongoing investigation.
Allegations are believed to made by seven women who say they were sexually abused
as children between 2002 and 2009. All the men were interviewed and released pending further enquiries, according to police.
Detective Inspector Ian Thornes, who is leading the investigation, said in a statement:
“Child sexual abuse and exploitation is an abhorrent and heinous crime and one which affects some of the most vulnerable people in our society.”
He urged others to report any incidents of abuse to police, adding victims would be “listened to, taken seriously and supported by professionals with experience of dealing
with these kinds of offences”.
Kirklees, the local council area for Dewsbury and Batley, has already launched an independent review after 20 British-Asian men were convicted in October of rape and sexually abusing children between 2004 and 2011 in Huddersfield.
The investigation coincides with the trial of 10 British-Asian men in Bradford, who have been accused of sexually abusing two young girls in care. The abuse is understood to have begun a decade ago when the girls were teenagers, Bradford crown court heard last week.
Kama Melly QC, opening the prosecution case, said the teens were used for the “sexual
fulfilment” of the men, adding they had been subjected to violent and forceful behaviour.
The men were also allegedly using drugs and alcohol.
The girls were in Bradford when they met one of the alleged perpetrators Basharat Khaliq, 38. After supplying them with vodka, the three began to meet regularly.
Care workers were aware of Khaliq, but he told them he was aware they were underage
and lived in children’s homes.
Melly told the court the girls were “sadly, ripe to be manipulated and vulnerable to exploitation” due to their backgrounds.
The men deny a total of 25 offences, including allegations of rape and inciting child prostitution.
The trial was still continuing as Eastern Eye went to press on Tuesday (15).
Many cases of grooming gangs have come to light in recent months across the UK, including cases in Rochdale, Telford, Newcastle and Oxford.
In November, six men were jailed for sexually exploiting young girls in Rotherham
while an investigation by the Sunday Mirror last March estimated that up to 1,000 girls in Telford could have been sexually abused over the last 40 years.
In the same month, another seven Asian men were found guilty of grooming and sexually abusing teenage girls “on a massive scale” in Oxford.
The Oxford gang were convicted of more than 20 offences including rape and indecent assault between 1998 and 2005. Their five victims were aged between 13 and 15
when the offences started.
Home secretary Sajid Javid announced last year that the Home Office was working with the National Crime Agency to conduct research into potential “cultural factors” that might be behind the ethnic origin of grooming gangs.