Police are being urged to put more perpetrators of child sexual exploitation before the courts – as a man who trapped three young girls in his flat overnight begins a three year jail sentence.
Rotherham MPs and a solicitor representing victims of child sexual exploitation spoke out after Iranian asylum seeker Vejahuin Ghorbani, aged 37, was jailed over the disappearance of three young girls – two aged 11 and one 13 – in the town last September.
He lured the youngsters from a park in Eastwood into his car and took them to his flat on Park Mount, Rotherham, where he plied them with alcohol, offered one girl £20 for sexual favours and made repeated references to sexual activity.
Sheffield Crown Court heard one girl had so much to drink she was sick. Ghorbani said to one of them he wanted to ‘make babies’ with her. He kept the girls there overnight before they escaped in the morning after finding Ghorbani’s keys while he slept. When officers searched his flat they found vodka and cider and a pair of knickers belonging to the eldest girl on the bathroom floor, although no DNA evidence was found linking Ghorbani to any sexual activity with the girl.
Sentencing Ghorbani, who pleaded guilty to two counts of abduction and one count of trafficking for sexual exploitation, Judge Michael Murphy said: “There was no sexual behaviour towards these young girls in the sense of active touching or worse, but you took three very young children to your house, plied them with drink and made verbal sexual advances to them.
“Whatever they said and whatever they did doesn’t hide the fact that they were very young children and needed protection from someone like yourself.
“I no longer have the powers to issue a deportation order but I seriously hope those that have do so and remove you from this country at the earliest possible chance.”
An independent report by Professor Alexis Jay revealed in August last year that around 1,400 children had been abused by gangs of largely Pakistani heritage men between 1997 and 2013.
Speaking after the sentencing, Rotherham MP Sarah Champion said: “I am pleased that we are finally seeing an offender being brought to justice for his crimes, however we need to see more of this.
“I am working hard to support the many victims and survivors of child sexual exploitation but ultimately what they, and the public, want to see is charges brought against their attackers.
“This case is just one example of the disgusting behaviour by offenders towards their victims. There remain many more out there still to be charged. My hope is that in the coming months we see these cases in the court room and offenders are finally brought to justice for their actions.
“I’m glad South Yorkshire Police are using all the legislation at their disposal to get these criminals off our streets.”
Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey said: “This prosecution is a welcome signal but much more needs to be done.
“I have been pressing the police to bring prosecutions since the publication of Alexis Jay’s report on child sexual exploitation last August.
“Those who have committed these dreadful crimes need to feel the full force of justice. This is essential to rebuild public confidence and trust in the police, especially for victims.”
Rother Valley MP Kevin Barron added: “It is right that this undesirable individual ought to be removed from this country, as such behaviour is simply not acceptable. I hope that other similar offenders will also soon be brought to justice.”
And David Greenwood, of Switalskis Solicitors, which is representing 38 victims of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham, said: “I am really pleased that this offender has been brought to justice. The police investigation and conviction demonstrates that South Yorkshire Police are actively pursuing offenders involved in sexual offences against children.
“I know that the police team dealing with the Rotherham cases are very active and I am hopeful that there will be large numbers of prosecutions.
“This is essential as girls need to have confidence that the police will take their cases seriously when they make contact.”
Detective Constable Paul Rooney, of South Yorkshire Police, said: “This man preyed on these young, vulnerable girls, the effect this had on them should not be underestimated.
“We utilised trafficking legislation as we felt that most accurately described the actions of this man.
“This is a great tool to help us tackle crimes against children and young people. We hope that by securing this conviction we are sending a warning to those still choosing to exploit young people.
“South Yorkshire Police is committed to tackling all forms of child abuse and child exploitation and would encourage victims anyone with information about offences being committed against children to report it to us.”
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