Rotherham report: Former youth worker ‘raised alarm about Asian gangs grooming girls and was called racist’
The employee, who spent 12 years trying to help girls classed as “out of control”, said she fears the true scale of those abused is even higher than 1,400
August 27, 2014
By Lucy Thornton
A former youth worker at Rotherham Council has told how she tried to raise the alarm about a taxi driver grooming young girls – only to be told by her boss: “You can’t say that, it’s racist!”
The employee, who spent 12 years trying to help girls classed as “out of control”, said she fears the true scale of those abused is even higher than 1,400.
“Even back in 2000, everyone working with children at the council knew about the grooming of young girls by Asian men, but nothing was done,” she told the Daily Mirror.
“Everyone knew. Good people were trying to do something, they were just blocked by those above.”
She said it was common knowledge there was a “massive problem” with married Asian taxi drivers – some as old as 70 – who had been abusing young girls.
“It was one particular taxi firm in Rotherham and back then it was about 20 of the drivers involved. The firm is still going now,” she said.
“They would pick up the girls and then deliver them to various takeaways. The girls got a ride out of it, free food and were given clothes.
“The police were told about this time and time again – but nothing was ever done. I don’t remember one conviction.
“It was so well known we were banned from using this particular taxi firm to transport the youngsters.
“Workers at the children’s units were told to take down registration plates of who picked up the girls. These were all given to police but nothing happened.
“Two youth workers I knew actually got so frustrated they trained as special police officers to try and catch the drivers themselves.”
“The sad thing is these [Asian] men thought the girls were trash. If they had been abusing Asian girls, we would probably have acted.” [According to the BBC only one taxi-driver was blacklisted. It was considered to be acceptable to act against him because he was English].
The worker said the drivers would also try and get themselves into positions of responsibility to make it easier to abuse the girls.
One notorious taxi driver tried to join Rotherham Council’s panel for ‘restorative justice’ – which aimed to get the community helping put youngsters on the straight and narrow.
“He said he wanted to help the community but when I saw his name on the application list alarm bells went off.
“I told my boss I recognised the name and he was well known for going after the young girls. That’s when my boss said ‘You can’t say that – it’s racist!
“I didn’t even mention he was Asian to her, I’d just said he was ‘one of those taxi drivers’ we all knew about.”
“She did check his name with police though and they confirmed he had been arrested and questioned but never charged. Thank God he didn’t get on the panel. That’s a terrifying thought.”
And she also acknowledged it was not only Asian men responsible in Rotherham. There was one incident when a girl had a gun inserted into her vagina, by her white female ‘pimp.’
“Her case worker was told to drive the victim out of the region and she had a chat about it with her husband, who also worked in social care. He told her that was not safe when these people had guns.
“So she told her bosses and was disciplined for breaking data protection – by talking to her husband!”
But the former worker does not believe it was just the fear of being branded a racist which stopped them taking action – it was financial too.
“One of the main ways to help these girls would be to ship them out of the area, but that cost money. They would rather keep the girls in Rotherham but that meant the abusers could get hold of them.
“I really do feel South Yorkshire’s police commissioner Shaun Wright has to go. He had a foot in both camps [ie, social work and local politics].
“But as for who is to blame – everyone is. I’m not sure much went right to the top of the chain.
“The problem is that all the social workers then are now in managerial positions.
“Everyone knew and nobody did anything.”