A new report revealed that British authorities were aware of a network of men—predominantly Muslim—abusing children, but failed to act to prevent the crimes for fear of creating “community tensions.”
The investigation, conducted independently at the request of Britain’s Commissioner of Police and Crime, shows that the Greater Manchester Police and other local authorities failed to take appropriate action more than 15 years ago, despite obtaining details of nearly 100 “persons of interest” who were using restaurants as a front to rape and abuse children between the ages of 11 and 17.
The report, dated Jan. 14, 2020, describes the offenders as operating “in plain sight” and driving around orphanages and children’s homes to prey on vulnerable youth.
“There was clear evidence that professionals at the time were aware these young people were being sexually exploited, and that this was generally perpetrated by a group of older Asian men,” the 146-page report states.
“There was significant information known at the time about their names, their locations, and telephone numbers but the available evidence was not used to pursue offenders,” it describes.
The report also cites Detective Margaret Oliver, who was involved in Operation Augusta, the original police investigation that ended in 2005.
Oliver confirmed that most of the abusers were “largely Pakistani heritage.” She said the adults abused “vulnerable white girls” in Hulme and around Rusholme, where there are a number of curry and kebab shops along the so-called Curry Mile, the most Muslim neighborhood in Manchester.
The review of the case, which led to the recent report, was commissioned in 2017 by the mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, and describes how the men took the girls out of their foster homes, drugged and abused them at “sex parties.”
Operation Augusta was carried out by the Greater Manchester Police to investigate allegations of sexual harassment following the death of a 15-year-old girl named Victoria Agoglia. The minor was in custody and died of an alleged heroin overdose in 2003.
According to local media reports, a 50-year-old man named Mohammed Yaqoob was sentenced to three and a half years in prison for injecting the drug.
However, while the operation identified at least 57 exploited children and 97 suspects, “very few” potential offenders were brought to justice and the investigation was closed in 2005.
“Very few of the relevant perpetrators were brought to justice and neither were their activities disrupted,” the report notes.
The document includes powerful testimonies from children who told their caregivers about the abuse they suffered in these places.
One child, for example, begged her guardians to take her away from Manchester, as she was too involved with Asian men and one of them “made her do things she didn’t want to do.”
Another spoke of how she and other victims were taken to apartments and given vodka and cocaine. “[We were forced to] do whatever they wanted us to do,” she said.
The report details how the offenders took over a Manchester children’s home from which they “maintained a steady supply of victims.”
This is not the first investigation to reveal such crimes: in 2014 a report revealed that more than 1,500 victims had been abused in Rotherham, which shocked Britain.
In that scandal, about 80 percent of the suspects were of Muslim origin, coming from South Asia. The report also noted that the abuses were ignored by the authorities due to fears of “threatening community cohesion.”
“Several councilors interviewed believed that by opening up these issues they could be ‘giving oxygen’ to racist perspectives that might in turn attract extremist political groups and threaten community cohesion,” the Rotherham report said.
That police negligence also appears in the recently unveiled Manchester case.
An unidentified officer in the report noted that the main suspects were predominantly Asian men so he said they started looking for white people. “We were told to try to get other ethnicities,” the officer said.
The senior investigating officer acknowledged that he was aware of “sensitive community issues” surrounding the policing of the operation. He noted that the potential abusers were “predominantly adult Asian men from local minority ethnic communities in the area covered by the South Manchester Division.”
On Tuesday, the current police chief, Ian Hopkins, apologized to those he said were “let down” that the police did not investigate the crimes committed against them.
“I want to say that I am personally disgusted that these children were not cared of and by the awful abuse that they suffered,” Hopkins told Fox News.
“I am committed to doing all we can to ensure that they receive the justice today that they were denied 15 years ago,” he added.