The Silent Witness episode “And Then I Fell in Love’, which was originally scheduled to be aired on 6th and 7th May but was postponed due to similarities with the Rochdale child sex grooming cases, was aired on BBC One on 19th and 20th August. The storyline of the episode involved a number of young girls being sexually groomed by Asian men.
At the time of the original programme schedule, the trial of the Asian men involved in the Rochdale grooming case was coming to an end at Liverpool Crown Court. The BBC made the late decision to postpone the episode at the time due to concerns that the programme would be “too sensitive’ at a time when the court was hearing how vulnerable girls as young as 13, including some under the care of social services, were given sweets, alcoholic drinks and drugs as a means of luring them into sex with Asian men. The BBC did not release a full statement at the time, simply stating that the change in schedule was for “editorial reasons’.
The Silent Witness episode consisting of two 60 minute showings at 9:00pm ultimately featured the discovery of a sinister underworld close to Heathrow Airport where teenage girls were groomed for sex and forced into prostitution. The men would buy clothes and jewellery for the girls, give them alcohol and drugs and then take them to a quiet location where the rapes would often be videoed. One girl was imprisoned in a room where different men would regularly come and have sex with her. The drama also illustrated how vulnerable the girls in this situation were and emphasised the profound psychological effects that the abuse had upon them with one girl committing suicide due to the ordeal.
The BBC programme bore a startling resemblance to the Rochdale child abuse ring. At the trial the jury returned with guilty verdicts on nine men aged between 24 and 59 for offences including rape, child sex trafficking and exploitation. The Rochdale case, which involved Asian defendants and white victims, had initially sparked protests by far-right groups; but police had insisted that the case was not racially motivated. This was a very similar situation to the Silent Witness episode which portrayed a number of Asian men who worked at a Taxi firm, using Facebook and modern technology to groom young white girls.
The Rochdale abuse predominantly took place in 2008 at two takeaway restaurants. The court was told that some girls were forced to have sex with several men a day, several times a week. One teenager gave an account of how she was forced to have sex with 20 men in one night. One other recalled being raped by two men and stated she was so drunk that she vomited over the side of the bed.
We have now seen that these sexual abuse rings exist all across the country and we are currently helping multiple victims who have suffered abuse of this nature. If you have been affected by any of the above issues, do not hesitate to get in touch with us in order to speak to a specialist solicitor who will be able to advise you about the process of making a claim for abuse.