Telford’s MP has renewed her call for an inquiry into child sexual exploitation in the town, after it was estimated up to 1,000 children could have been abused there.
Over a 40-year period, children as young as 11 are reported to have been targeted by sexual predators who drugged, beat and raped them.
An investigation by the Sunday Mirror found allegations dating back to the 1980s, with many cases mishandled by authorities and a number of perpetrators going unpunished.
Council staff considered abused children as “prostitutes” instead of victims, according to files seen by the newspaper.
The paper reported that abuse was continuing in the Shropshire town, which has a population of around 170,000.
Telford’s Conservative MP, Lucy Allan, who has previously called for a Rotherham-style inquiry into the allegations, said the latest reports were “extremely serious and shocking”.
“There must now be an independent inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Telford so that our community can have absolute confidence in the authorities,” she told the Mirror.
Professor Liz Kelly, from the Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit at London Metropolitan University, helped the paper calculate the number of possible victims.
Dino Nocivelli, a specialist child abuse solicitor, told the Mirror: “These children were treated as sexual commodities by men who inflicted despicable acts of abuse. The survivors deserve an inquiry.
“They need to know how abuse took place for so long and why so many perpetrators have never been brought to justice.”
Seven men were jailed in 2013 following Operation Chalice, a police inquiry into child sex abuse in the Telford area.
Among those imprisoned were brothers Mubarek and Ahdel Ali, who were convicted of controlling child prostitution and trafficking girls.
Ahdel Ali was sentenced to 18 years in prison after he was found guilty of one charge of rape, 11 charges of sexual activity with a child and three charges of controlling child prostitution.
Mubarek Ali was convicted of four charges of controlling child prostitution and two of trafficking in the UK for sexual exploitation.
The Mirror says social workers warned police about the abuse a decade before Operation Chalice was opened.
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A spokesperson for Telford and Wrekin Council said: “Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a vile, evil crime. It’s an issue right across the UK and has been for a long time.
“Telford will be covered by the national CSE review. We welcome this. All agencies continue to work very closely together and this remains our top priority.”
Press Association contributed to this report