CSE

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Woman suspected of trafficking 40 children into Heathrow as ‘ringleader’ of child sex smuggling gang arrested in Nigeria

Published April 1, 2015 by JS2

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A woman suspected of being a ringleader in a sex trafficking gang that used Heathrow to smuggle children into Europe has been arrested in Nigeria.

Police held Franca Asemota, 36, on suspicion of money-laundering offences in an operation co-ordinated by the National Crime Agency.

She is facing extradition to Britain, where she is wanted for organising a network that trafficked young women — most aged under 18 — from remote Nigerian villages into Europe using Heathrow airport as a transit hub.

The girls were promised education or jobs such as hairdressing in countries including France and Spain but were forced into prostitution.

Some were raped and the traffickers were said to have used witchcraft to terrify their victims so they would not talk to police.

Asemota, who was arrested in Benin City, is accused of accompanying about 40 victims on eight separate flights into Heathrow between 2011 and 2012.

A European arrest warrant was issued for her when she was thought to be in Italy but she is believed to have fled to Nigeria, where the NCA traced her.

The NCA said: “Asemota’s arrest was the result of exceptional collaboration with our partners at home and in Nigeria.

“This operation demonstrates our global reach and our determination  to track those wanted in the UK, no matter where in the world they are.”

A Nigerian member of the trafficking ring, Odosa Usiobaifo, of Enfield, was jailed for 14 years by Isleworth crown court in 2013 for conspiring to traffic for sex exploitation.

Last October David Osawaru, of Nigeria, was jailed for nine years for chaperoning two women in transit to Prague. He had been arrested by Border Force officers at Heathrow.

London Evening Standard

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Nearly 70 per cent of child sex abuse cases in Leicestershire unsolved

Published March 23, 2015 by JS2

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Nearly 70 per cent of reports of child sex abuse in Leicestershire have remained unsolved, according to figures released by the police.

The force has published statistics about the number of complaints of sexual offences dating back 18 years, following a Freedom of Information request.

They show there were 7,834 such crimes recorded between 1997 and 2014 – but 5,479 are listed as undetected.

That means no charges or summonses to court were made after they were investigated by officers.

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Former foster carer Clive Langley, who lives near Market Harborough, submitted the request for the figures.

He said: “The first thing that struck me was the large numbers of complaints going back over the years.

“There have been nearly 8,000 cases and we know child sexual abuse so often goes unreported.

“Then you see that most cases go undetected and you ask why.

“I would want to know if the police have the resources to deal with these kinds of offences or if they are given the priority they ought to be.

“In other areas, we have found out the police have not believed girls who told them they had been abused.”

Leicestershire Police’s head of serious crime, Detective Superintendent Jon Brown, insisted officers had the resources to deal with inquiries and that handling them was a key priority.

He said: “I can absolutely guarantee that all cases are robustly investigated.

“We will record (the crime) at the first point of contact.

“We have dedicated child abuse officers who are specially trained. And we are absolutely victim focused. That has come from the very top.”

Det Supt Brown said the high level of undetected cases was down to the complex nature of the crimes .

He said: “We are talking about the most sensitive investigations.

“We work alongside specialist Crown Prosecution Service lawyers and we look at what is in the best interests of the victims.

“We have the tools we need. We have the specialist officers and specialist child abuse investigators.”

The Mercury asked Dept Supt Brown if there were organised gangs of men grooming children in Leicester as in other parts of the country.

He said: “I can’t compare ourselves with what’s happening in other parts of the country. We are collecting intelligence. But this isn’t a taboo subject.

“We need people to raise it. If they have concerns about somebody in their community that could be the missing part of the jigsaw.”

Leicester Mercury

Child sexual exploitation: Time to take action

Published March 19, 2015 by JS2

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Police and Crime Commissioner Adam Simmonds has published the following statement in the wake of David Cameron’s CSE summit at Downing Street yesterday announcing significant measures to tackle child sexual abuse and exploitation.

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No one can deny that Louise Casey’s report of the Inspection of Rotherham Borough Council, published last month, can be perceived as anything but a crucial wake up call.

The denial of Council members, police, social services and other relevant agencies as to the scale and impact of child sexual exploitation in the area was shocking. It is now long overdue for every individual and organisation working with children and young people to recognise this and take responsibility.

Child sexual exploitation is an abhorrent crime that has a long-lasting and devastating impact on victims.

Yet it has taken the events in Rotherham and Rochdale amongst others for such abuse to even start to be considered as a priority. But the government has started to take action to tackle it, with a number of actions and announcements that we should welcome without hesitation.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister held a National Summit at Downing Street and announced significant measures to tackle child sexual abuse and exploitation nationally, including;

–          a consultation on extending the new criminal offence of ‘wilful neglect’ of patients to children’s social care, education and elected members;

–           a national whistleblowing helpline to encourage those working in the public sector to report bad practice;

–          a new Child Sexual Abuse Taskforce of experts to support local areas; and

–          additional funding for survivors of sexual abuse.

Another important step that will make strides in ensuring the police are prioritising child sexual abuse is to give child sexual abuse the status of a national threat in the Strategic Policing Requirement. No longer will the police be able to hide behind other priorities as a reason not to act.

Despite these steps forward, we still face a lack of understanding around this issue. Many perceive child sexual exploitation as uncommon and infrequent, which is both carried out by, and against, minority groups and individuals. This is wrong. We need to recognise that child sexual exploitation can be committed by, and against, any individual, regardless of age, gender, race, background or other characteristic. In fact, a significant proportion of children who are sexually abused are abused by someone they know. This is a fact that many are not aware of.

As the Police and Crime Commissioner for Northamptonshire, I am utilising my position as leader in the local area to take action against child sexual exploitation. I have committed to further funding of £1 million through the Police Precept that will be ring-fenced to help support victims of crime, including those affected by child sexual exploitation and young people impacted by domestic and sexual violence.

Later this month, I will be launching a Ten Point Pledge; a commitment to my county and our children and young people as to what action we will take in tackling all forms of abuse. We are committed to bringing the perpetrators of child abuse and exploitation to justice, because we recognise that the absence of prosecutions will fail to give victims the confidence that the justice system is on their side and that the perpetrators will be stopped. We are also committed, as a county, to offer long-term support to victims, with the understanding that it is not just the immediate support that victims need, but for such support to be available throughout their lifetime.

The Commission will also be launching a major piece of research on child online safety. Many meetings between a victim and perpetrator are facilitated by contact online beforehand, and we have recognised the need to deepen our understanding about how children and young people are using the internet. Our work in this area will be able to most helpfully work with parents and carers, children and young people and all relevant organisations to understand how better to protect children online and improve understanding about the risks of using the internet.

We cannot simply do nothing and wait for a repeat of the shocking Rotherham events to unfold in another area. It is encouraging that the government is starting to commit to tackling child sexual exploitation, but this is just the first step. Words need to turn into action. Victims need to be listened to and believed. Perpetrators need to be disrupted, prosecuted, and brought to justice for their actions. Agencies need to take responsibility for protecting, safeguarding and supporting all children and young people that may be exploited. We need to recognise that child sexual exploitation is the rape and abuse of children; and begin to tackle it as just that and no less.

Northampton Police

March 4th 2015

Investigation into South Yorkshire Police ordered in wake of fresh allegations of child sex exploitation

Published March 13, 2015 by JS2

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SOUTH YORKSHIRE’S Police and Crime Commissioner has ordered a full-scale inspection of the force amid accusations the force failed to listen to victims of child exploitation in Sheffield.

‘Urgent’ talks with the Home Office are under way after Dr Alan Billings said a probe similar to the one carried out by Louise Casey into Rotherham Council is needed in light of the fresh allegations came to light this week.

I now believe that a full ‘Casey-like’ county-wide inspection of South Yorkshire Police is necessary to get to an accepted understanding about the past and whether things have changed

Dr Alan Billings

The commissioner was put under pressure by a leaked police document which names more than 200 girls in Sheffield who were suspected of being sexually exploited and a list of more 320 men accused of carrying out the abuse, predominantly between 2007 and 2010.

Former police officer Tony Brookes said the force at the time focused on crimes linked to Home Office targets, including car crime and burglary.

Referencing the inquiry which uncovered revealed the abuse of 1,400 girls while authorities turned a blind eye in Rotherham, Dr Billings had today announced the need for a ‘Casey-like’ inspection.

He said: “If I am to do my job, I need to be sure that everything that can reasonably be known about the past is known. This is the first and crucial step if the force is to get itself into a better place.

“However, in the light of what has now been revealed I cannot be certain that we are at that point.

“Reluctantly, therefore, I now believe that a full ‘Casey-like’ county-wide inspection of South Yorkshire Police is necessary to get to an accepted understanding about the past and whether things have changed – which is the first step to restoring public confidence.

“I believe the only authorities that can commission such an inspection are the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Home Secretary. I met with a group of Sheffield MPs, the Chief Constable and Sheffield City Council this morning and my office is having urgent discussions with the Home Office to agree on how this inspection should proceed.”

Yorkshire Post

Act if something’s not right, urge county child sex exploitation campaigners

Published March 10, 2015 by JS2

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‘Child sexual exploitation is happening in Warwickshire, don’t ignore it’ is the message from a new campaign.

Parents and children are being urged to look for the signs and act when they see ‘something’s not right’.

Chief Constable of Warwickshire Police, Andy Parker, said: “Child sexual exploitation is a type of sexual abuse in which children are sexually exploited for money, power or status.

“Children or young people may be tricked into believing they’re in a loving, consensual relationship. They might be invited to parties and given drugs and alcohol. They may also be groomed online.

“Some children and young people are trafficked into or within the UK for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Sexual exploitation can also happen to young people in gangs.”

Campaigners are encouraging people to look out for a number of signs or concerns, which include: a young person regularly missing from home or school, receiving a high volume of texts or calls, change in personal appearance, self-harming, unexplained gifts such as jewellery, and a change in behaviour.

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Detective Inspector Nigel Jones, head of the Child Sexual Exploitation service for Warwickshire and West Mercia Police, said: “There are various figures on the scale of child sexual exploitation in Warwickshire, but in reality these are all estimates, and probably below what the reality is.

“We are determined to stop children being abused and exploited, to prevent harm to those being abused, bring justice to all those who commit such abhorrent crimes, and to ensure the public are confident to come forward when they require our help.

“The young person involved might not even be aware what is happening, so it might be a school friend, a parent, a taxi driver or a teacher who spots what is happening and helps bring an end to the exploitation.

“I’d urge anyone to contact us when they see something’s not right. “

“Children or young people may be tricked into believing they’re in a loving, consensual relationship”

Chief Constable Andy Parker

Call 01926 684490 to discuss your concerns or visithttp://warwickshirecse.co.uk.

A range of videos and social media trends are being used to promote the initiative.

Rugby Advertiser

To prevent child sex abuse, victims must not be seen as morally inferior

Published March 10, 2015 by JS2

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Care professionals failed to question prevailing social attitudes that the girls abused in Oxfordshire were ‘difficult’ and ‘undeserving’. Tackling this requires better training and support, not prosecution

It is regrettable that the aspect of the government’s response to the shocking disclosures about child sexual exploitation in Oxfordshire that has got most attention is the intention to make it possible to prosecute social workers, police and other professionals for “wilful neglect” where it appears they have not acted on child abuse.

While this has obvious populist appeal it distracts us from the real issues. The complexities of how abused children’s experiences appear to professionals and of dealing with the exploitative tactics of gangs of offenders are such that it is highly unlikely that a charge of “wilful” neglect could ever be proven.

The tone of the Oxfordshire serious case review is altogether different from the government’s. It is a wise, insightful report that carefully and sympathetically analyses why it was that despite professional involvement, teenage girls were subjected to horrific sexual and physical abuse by a gang of at least seven men. It concludes that over many years professionals “on the ground worked relentlessly (if not always effectively) to fulfil their professional duties” and that ultimately it was their observations and persistence which brought the child sexual exploitation into the open. However, scores of professionals and organisations misread the signs and acted in ways that the victims and their families experienced as callous and indifferent.

Professional ignorance was central to what went wrong. I worked in social work at a time in the 1980s when child sexual abuse was barely recognised. By the 1990s major breakthroughs had occurred, levels of reporting increased and it felt like a good understanding of the dynamics of grooming, secrecy and the impact of sexual abuse had been established. The horrific disclosures in Oxfordshire,Rotherham and elsewhere are humbling. Professionals have been clueless in the face of the organised barbarism perpetrated on young women by groups of men. The Oxfordshire report describes how one girl was punished by being taken to a wood and raped by seven men. Left alone, hurt, crying and naked, the person she called for help was not her parents, social worker, police or an ambulance but one of the abusers who had just raped her.

Despite having been groomed, controlled and violated in ways that left them with no capacity to say “no” and with a fear-based loyalty to their abusers, the serious case review concludes that they were seen by professionals as “very difficult girls making bad choices”.

The perpetrators did not operate in a cultural vacuum. They tapped into the cruelly oppressive social attitudes that are typical towards children in, or on the edge of, care. Their victims were from troubled families who are despised within political discourse as “chavs”, “welfare scroungers” and “the undeserving”. It is their vulnerability and social positioning as morally inferior objects of disgust that makes gangs of abusers target them and professionals blame them.

In the Oxfordshire report, the familiar finding of a “lack of curiosity and rigour” by professionals who had the wrong “mindset” was a central failing. It is vital that multi-agency training and ongoing supervision help professionals learn about both the impact of abusers’ tactics and the complex dynamics that can wear down their own compassion and judgment, so that they can avoid blaming and giving up on abused children.

Change must occur from the top down, prejudice must be eliminated and workers given the skills and knowledge required to help very challenging children and families. If change doesn’t happen agencies must be held accountable, through staff performance reviews that already exist and by forced resignations at the top of organisations, as happened in Rotherham.

Once again we have been shamed into recognition of the limits of our capacity to understand and act humanely in the face of the brutality perpetrated on children. For genuine learning to occur professionals need support. Nothing must detract from the real issues and hard work required if children are to be adequately protected.

Harry Furguson

Child sexual exploitation group which worked in Havering denies ‘radical Islamist’ tag

Published March 9, 2015 by JS2

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A company that trained Havering’s Safeguarding Children Board on the dangers of child sexual exploitation has hit back at claims it is a “radical Islamic group”.

Two weeks ago The Telegraph newspaper ran a story saying Street UK, which works with young “urban” men at risk of committing child sexual exploitation (CSE) or violence, was working with Oxfordshire County Council in the wake of revelations of wide-scale child abuse in the area.

It went on to say the group had its government grant withdrawn in 2011 after paying for the publication of a booklet by Salafi Manhaj which issues regular fatwas enforcing a Salafist – or ultra-literal – view of Islam.

Representative Alyas Karmani has denied these claims and says Street UK has been “leading in the UK” on CSE since 2010.

“The allegations are completely false and baseless,” he said.

“The publication is a book called Warning Against Terrorism and Extremism. This was approved by the Home Office due to its unequivocal condemnation of terrorism.”

A Home Office spokesman said Street UK’s funding was stopped in March 2011 following a “review prioritisation exercise”.

In the past two years, Mr Karmani has held four sessions with the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) in Havering about how to deal with CSE.

He has also worked with Oxfordshire Council, in the wake of Thames Valley Police’s Operation Bullfinch. The authority has been heavily criticised this week over the abuse scandal.

Mr Karmani said: “In relation to our anti-grooming and child sexual exploitation prevention work we have been leading in the UK since 2010 when we were featured on the award winning documentaryBritain’s Sex Gangs.

“Our work is respected and valued and we have been invited to give formal evidence to the Home Office Select Committee on two occasions and are cited in its report on grooming gangs.”

The training course it provides focuses on defining CSE, engaging with hard-to-reach communities, working with young urban men and those in gangs, the grooming process and the influencers and drivers of sexual violence in the South Asian/Pakistani community.

A Havering Council spokeswoman said: “The LSCB used this group to undertake four days of training. For our 2015/16 programme, we have changed our provider to Barnardo’s.”

Romford Recorder