Gjesteskribent

Enda en pakistansk gjeng er domfelt for systematisk misbruk av mindreårige, britiske piker fra oppløste hjem. De fem mennene misbrukte ofrene over flere måneder, og truet med vold hvis de avviste de seksuelle tilnærmelsene deres. De britiskfødte pakistanske mennene angrep pikene på lekeplasser, parker og i baksetet på bilene deres.

Saken inngår i et etterhvert velkjent mønster: bestemte miljøer av «asiatiske» menn, hovedsakelig med pakistansk bakgrunn, velger seg ut mindreårige, etnisk engelske jenter i særlig sårbare livssituasjoner. Ofte er jentene allerede i sosialtjenestens søkelys eller varetekt pga familieoppløsning og/eller problematisk atferd.

Fremgangsmåten som blir benyttet overfor de mindreårige er stort sett den samme; mennene «skjemmer bort» den aktuelle piken med komplimenter og gaver. Når hun først er kommet inn i gruppen, blir hun systematisk misbrukt og går på rundgang mellom mennene. I flere tilfeller har piken også blitt tvunget inn i prostitusjon

Problemet er omfattende, og Scotland Yard anslår at 5.000 britiskfødte barn i dag er sexslaver kontrollert av asiatiske/pakistanske gjenger. Senest i august ble ni «asiatiske» menn fengslet i en tilnærmet identisk sak. Mennene som er involvert oppsøker også jenter som er kommet ut av det i hjemmene deres og truer foreldrene på livet. Bare i Blackburn har hele 385 unge piker fått tilbud om offentlig beskyttelse etter å ha blitt seksuelt utnyttet de to siste årene. Imidlertid ender det ikke sjelden med at det er jentene og familiene deres som må flytte og skaffe seg en ny identitet.

I løpet av den syv uker lange rettssaken mot Mohsin Khan (21), Razwan Razaq (30), Umar Razaq (24), Zafran Ramzan (21) og Adil Hussain (20) har juryen fått høre hvordan mennene kjørte rundt i gatene og så etter piker. De mindreårige jentene, den ene så ung som 12 år, trodde de var i et forhold med de mye eldre mennene. Ved en anledning forsøkte Umar Razaq å rive klærne av en av de 13 år gamle jentene, og da hun gjorde motstand dro han henne i håret og kalte henne en «hvit tispe». Ved en annen anledning presenterte Umar piken for sin bror Razwan, som også utnyttet henne seksuelt.

To av mennene gråt da dommen på tilsammen 32 års fengsel ble kunngjort:

The girls, who were being monitored by social services, were eventually rescued by police and removed from their homes amid growing concerns for their safety.

Two of the men wept in the dock yesterday as they were jailed.

Judge Peter Kelson QC told them: ‘I’ve listened to the backdrop of some of you sobbing – I have to say your weeping cuts no ice with me at all.

‘You had what you regarded as your fun, now you will take your punishment.’

The five, Umar Razaq, 24, Razwan Razaq, 30, Zafran Ramzan, 21, Adil Hussain, 20, and Mohsin Khan, 21, were found guilty of a string of sexually related offences against the girls, one aged 12, two aged 13 and one aged 16.

Ramzan (above) was found guilty of raping the 16-year-old girl in her own home, and the other four were found guilty of sexual activity with a child.

Umar Razaq (top) was jailed for four and a half years,

while the judge gave Razwan Razaq (above) 11 years.

Ramzan was jailed for nine years, and Hussain and Khan both received four years. All five were placed on the sex offenders register. Three further men were cleared.

The attacks took place in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, during 2008, the court was told. Khan, a mortgage adviser who owned a BMW, described his victim as a ‘little stick’ who looked as if she had not reached puberty.

Despite this he told her he loved her and would spoil her like a ‘princess’.

Myndighetene ble varslet da det ble notert endringer i ofrenes oppførsel, og pikene ble umiddelbart fjernet fra sine hjem for deres egen sikkerhets skyld:

Joyce Thacker, director of Rotherham’s children and young people’s services, said the girls were under child protection plans following family breakdowns or other issues with their behaviour.

‘When we pieced together a map of what was happening we stepped in very quickly to move these girls to a place of safety outside Rotherham,’ she said.

‘It started off as a grooming exercise by the men who became friendly with the girls, gave them gifts and introduced them to their friends.

‘When they got used to being abused it just became a normal way of life for the girls. It is akin to self-harm.

‘It was very dangerous. The girls could have faced death if the men weren’t getting what they wanted.’

She said the girls’ parents bore some of the responsibility but they were in a difficult position and at a loss to do something about their children’s ‘alternative’ lifestyle.

Detective Sergeant Dave Walker, who led the inquiry, said: ‘One was only 12 when she met one of the men and started smoking cannabis and drinking and coming in late at night.

‘As it escalated the defendants were becoming more aggressive to the girls.

‘We basically have a group of young men who think it is all right to abuse young girls and they just groomed them and isolated them from their families.’

Fenomenet har vært kjent siden 2004, da TV-selskapet Channel 4 ble anklaget av antirasistiske grupper for å oppfordre til rasisme mot det pakistanske miljøet og ble presset til å trekke tilbake en dokumentar som satte fokus på den systematiske seksuelle utnyttelsen av utsatte, mindreårige piker.

I forbindelse med rettssaken mot Zulfqar Hussain (46) og Qaiser Naveed (32), som i 2007 ble dømt for bortføring og barnemishandling etter å ha utnyttet to jenter under 16 år ved å gi dem alkohol og narkotiske stoffer før de hadde sex med dem, kom det frem at det hovedsakelig var jentenes mødre og den Leeds-baserte organisasjonen Coalition for the Removal of Pimping (Crop) som hadde stått i spissen for avsløringene av de pakistanske mennenes atferd. Britisk politi hadde til da ikke foretatt seg stort til tross for gjentatte oppfordringer fra lokalmiljøet. Etterforskningen viste at bare i Yorkshire hadde mer enn 30 mindreårige piker blitt seksuelt utnyttet, og noen var blitt tvunget inn i prostitusjon. Så mange som 200 familier hadde oppsøkt Crop for å få råd og hjelp.

På bakgrunn av opplysningene fra lokalpolitikere, sosialarbeidere og foreldre meldte spørsmålet seg om hvorfor myndighetene var så motvillige til å involvere seg:

Schoolgirls in Lancashire and Yorkshire are falling prey to sinister gangs of pimps. Two men have been sent to jail, but the girls’ mothers, not the police, are at the forefront of the crackdown. Why are the authorities so reluctant to get involved?

It seemed a shabby, seedy episode, probably typical of many cases down the years that have involved exploitative men and naive women. Yet, until these convictions, the police in over a dozen towns and cities, including Leeds, Sheffield, Blackburn and Huddersfield, had appeared reluctant to address what many local people had perceived as a growing problem – the groups of men who had been preying on young, vulnerable girls and ensnaring them into prostitution.

It was a very uncomfortable scenario, not least because many of these crimes had an identifiable racial element: the gangs were Asian and the girls were white. The authorities, in the shape of politicians and the police, seemed reluctant to acknowledge this aspect of the crimes; it has been left to the mothers of the victims to speak out.

Allerede i 2007 ble det hevdet fra flere hold at den aktuelle rettssaken langt fra var noe enkeltstående tilfelle. Tvert i mot avdekket de to mennenes atferd en urovekkende utvikling der voksne pakistanske menn bevisst «skjemmer bort» mindreårige jenter med tanke på å utnytte dem for sex og kriminelle aktiviteter.

Samtidig med rettssaken gjorde økende bekymringer for noen muslimske menns holdninger til hvite jenter seg gjeldende. Foreldre i innvandrertette områder hadde gjentatte ganger klaget over at piker så unge som 12 år var blitt en målgruppe for voksne menns målbevisste seksuelle tilnærmelser. Imidlertid viste britiske myndigheter seg lite villige til å ta i problemstillingen, noe flere mente skyldtes frykt for rasismeanklager:

The trial came amid growing concern at the attitudes of some Asian men towards white girls which campaigners for women claim few people wish to address.

Parents have complained that in parts of the country with large Asian communities white girls as young as 12 are being targeted for sex by older Asian men yet the authorities are unwilling to act because of fears of being labelled racist.

Labour-politikeren Ann Cryer var en av de få som gjorde aktive forsøk på å takle problemstillingen etter gjentatte klager fra mødre over unge «asiatiske» menns pågående, seksuelle tilnærmelser til deres mindreårige døtre. Forsøk på å ta det opp med ledere for det asiatiske miljøet førte imidlertid ikke frem, da de fleste av dem benektet at det i det hele tatt fantes noe problem.

Cryer mente at mønsteret som avtegnet seg er en del av en kulturkonflikt der muslimske menn blir fanget mellom to kulturer, og at mindreårige blir målet fordi voksne kvinner i større grad er klar over noen av problemene som kan oppstå ved et forhold og derfor har flere forbehold mot å involvere seg med muslimske menn:

The family and cultural norms of their community means they are expected to marry a first cousin or other relative back in a village in Mirapur or wherever the family comes from. Therefore, until that marriage is arranged they look out for sex.

“At the point in their lives when they are ready for this sort of activity, Asians cannot go to Asian girls because it would be a terrible breach of the honour of the community and their family to have sex with an Asian girl before marriage.”

She said that the reason Asian men targeted very young white girls was because older white girls knew that a relationship with an Asian youth was unlikely to last as the community would seek an arranged marriage with someone from the Asian sub- continent.

Til tross for at politiet og grupper som arbeider for kvinners beskyttelse insisterte på at den målbevisste jakten på mindreårige jenter ikke begrenset seg til det muslimske miljøet, innrømmet de at de var bekymret for holdningene noen unge muslimske menn utviser overfor hvite jenter. Foreldrene til de mindreårige jentene hevdet på sin side at de kriminelle nettverkene fikk fortsette å utnytte unge piker fordi myndighetene ikke var villige til å gripe inn av frykt for å skade etniske relasjoner i områder med store etniske minoriteter:

The case took 16 months to come to court. In the meantime, other pimps, undeterred by the impending trial, continued to go about their business.

So what are the police doing? Lancashire police say that in the past few months they have sent letters to 70 men who were believed to be spending an unusual amount of time with young girls. The letters warn the men that the girls are underage; the men are required to sign the letter, confirming they have received and read it.

The details are left on file – but there is no guarantee that the police will take any further action if the grooming continues.

Blackburn, in common with many northern towns, is experiencing a huge upsurge in pimping, and it is an unpalatable truth for the authorities – and indeed the police – that many of the newest wave of pimps come from within the Asian community.

Moren til et av de mindreårige ofrene fra rettssaken i 2007 opplyste om at en representant for politiet eksplisitt hadde fortalt henne at man ikke ønsket å forårsake eventuelle raseopptøyer ved å arrestere pakistanske menn for seksualforbrytelser.

Mennenes fremgangsmåte viser forøvrig at de er fullt klar over hvilke lover og regler som gjelder for mindreårige piker i Storbritannia:

Gemma cannot remember ever being happy, although her mother, Anni, says she was a contented child until she reached the age of 13. That was the day she fell out of puppy love. It was the day that Amir, her 24-year-old boyfriend, chose to brutally rape her.

The date Gemma was raped was important – Amir, a seasoned pimp, was well aware of the law. If anyone has sex with a girl under 13, there is a strong risk of being arrested for having sex with a minor. Once they reach 13, however, unless the victim makes a complaint to the police, nothing will happen. Recommendations following the Soham murders clearly state that police should arrest in cases where older males have sex with a child under the age of 16.

However, police rarely take action unless the victim complains, thereby allowing the pimps and their customers to act with impunity.

“The abuse these girls suffer is horrendous,” says Aravinda Kosaraju, a researcher at Crop, which has in the past been funded by the Home Office and has recently received a large lottery grant in order to develop its work. “The pimps even use pregnancy as a form of punishment,” says Kosaraju. “We worked with two girls who were made pregnant by customers and then forced to have backstreet abortions.” Crop was founded by the late Irene Ivison, a mother of three who died during a routine operation. Her daughter Fiona, a bright girl from a happy home in Sheffield, was lured by a pimp masquerading as her boyfriend when she was 14. Having been successfully groomed, by the time she was 17 she was dead, murdered by a customer.

Crop researchers have been tracking the pimping gangs for over a decade, and have built up a valuable database of knowledge about the pimping gangs, based on hundreds of stories from parents and victims. However, the pimps are largely able to operate with impunity. “If we had not pushed and pushed about this issue,” says Anni, “I believe that Hussain and Naveed would still be out there, just like my child’s abusers are.”

Men selv om organisasjoner som Crop leverte massive bevis for at de kriminelle nettverkene hovedsakelig består av menn av pakistansk opprinnelse var det mange som ønsket å se bort fra det ubehagelige faktum, og i stedet påsto at hvert tilfelle var enkeltstående. Dette til tross for at politiet har vært motvillige til å gripe inn, nettopp av frykt for å skade etniske relasjoner i området.

Mike Cunningham, an assistant chief constable with Lancashire police, says he is aware that several recent cases reported to police in Lancashire have involved Asian men, but that the issue of sexual grooming of young girls is not based solely on race or culture. “Offenders can and do come from a variety of cultural backgrounds,” says Cunningham, “and we deal with each case on its own individual merit.” He says he is not aware of “any accusations of racism from the accused or their respective communities”.

Historically, many of Britain’s pimps have come from immigrant communities – Jews in the early 20th century, Jamaicans and Maltese in the 1950s and ’60s. White, British-born pimps have tended to operate as individuals, rather than within criminal gangs. In recent years, however, young Asian men have been operating in formal, organised networks in the north of England, particularly in the impoverished towns with high unemployment and racial disharmony.

Taxi drivers, shop owners and security guards who work in the shopping arcades where the girls are recruited are also involved, one police officer (who asked not to be named) told me.

“Police seem to be very cautious about this. They fear being branded racist,” says Mohammed Shafiq, the press spokesman for the Ramadhan Foundation, a Muslim youth education charity based in Rochdale.

Shafiq recently tried to address some imams and community leaders, but did not get very far. “They all had a ‘no comment’ policy,” says Shafiq, “but our organisation is clear that it is going on, and that it is linked to drug dealing. We can’t simply blame the BNP.”

Uttalelser fra menn i slike nettverk tyder for øvrig på at den målrettede utnyttelsen av mindreårige, hvite piker har flere perspektiver enn bare å tjene penger:

As well as simple opportunism, pimping of white females by black and ethnic-minority men can be a type of revenge against whites. “My parents ran a grocery shop,” says Hussein, who admits to being part of the pimping gangs in the late 1990s. “They had hardly any money, even though they worked their backsides off. White people treated them like shit, like they were their servants.” Hussein says he took “great pleasure” in having young white girls at his beck and call, knowing their parents would be out of their minds with worry.

Although Hussein was reported to the police, he was never arrested for any crime, and is now working in Leeds.

I en dokumentar i 2004 fokuserte Channel 4 på historien til to mødre hvis døtre ble ofre for systematisk hallikvirksomhet i det pakistanske miljøet i Bradford. Men før programmet ble publisert argumenterte flere antirasistiske grupper – blant dem organisasjoner for muslimer og svarte – for at Channel 4`s dokumentar hadde til hensikt å fremme rasisme mot muslimer. Kanalen ble presset til å trekke dokumentaren fra sendeplanen. Også politiet advarte om at programmet kunne fremprovosere forstyrrelser av den offentlig ro og orden.

Etter rettssaken i 2007 hevdet derfor mange at politiets, antirasisters og hvite liberaleres motvilje mot å erkjenne problematikken hadde ført til økt risiko for utnyttelse av enda flere mindreårige piker:

Originally due to be screened in May 2004, three years after the Bradford race riots, the documentary was pulled from the schedule at the request of the West Yorkshire Police. A spokesman at the time said police had found no evidence of the alleged systematic exploitation, and the chief constable of West Yorkshire Police warned Channel 4 that he felt the timing of the programme could contribute to community unrest in Bradford and possibly even provoke public disorder in the city.

A number of families affected by Pakistani pimping gangs have said that police inaction and the refusal of white liberals to acknowledge the problem has resulted in more girls being at risk than ever before. “We are still battling to get recognition that what we are dealing with is organised crime against children,” says Kosaraju.

Sunny Hundal, editor of the online magazine Asians in Media, has followed the phenomenon of Asian pimping gangs. “Although it’s obvious that it’s young, lawless Pakistani boys,” says Hundal, “it’s tricky to make this an issue about race or religion when neither are contributing factors.” However, he does believe some young Asian men “hold very disparaging attitudes towards white girls, thinking they’re ‘easy’”.

Undersøkelser foretatt av Crop har også vist at det ikke er uvanlig at de pakistanske gjengene indoktrinerer de mindreårige pikene til å tro at alle hvite er rasister. Å inngi pikene skyldfølelse for dette er en del av mennenes metode for å oppnå full kontroll over ofrene, samtidig som pikene får en ”ny” identitet ved at hallikene gir dem asiatiske navn. I følge støttearbeidere er det heller ikke uvanlig at pikene får ordre om å lese koranen:

The pimps are adept at trading on teenage rebellion and use similar methods, according to Crop, of convincing the girls all white people are racist. This is part of the controlling process, to instil guilt in the girls.

“Like most teenagers, I was going through a phase of arguing with my mum,” says Gemma. “Amir told me they didn’t understand me and were racist and ignorant. I believed him.” Gemma was given an Asian name by Amir, and told she had to read the Koran, a story support workers tell me is not uncommon. “They erode the girls’ identities,” says Kosaraju, “to make them more compliant and needy.”

Daily Mail: ‘Sexual predators’: Gang of Asian men weep as they are jailed for total of 32 years for abusing white girls as young as 12

Via Snaphanen

UK: Når ofrene er mindreårige, hvite piker