In February 1985, the Yorkshire Evening Post revealed that ‘a horrifying dossier on child prostitution in Leeds – involving girls as young as nine – has been compiled by shocked social services chiefs‘.
‘As many as 60 under-age girls are known to have been involved in illegal sex activities…in the south Leeds area‘
‘Eight of the girls involved had been taken into the care of the local authority at some stage and six of them were still in care today‘
Councillor Bernard Atha, the chairman of the city’s social services committee, said he was ‘horrified by the magnitude of the problem’, which he believed was the largest case of its kind in the country.
The MP for Leeds South, Merlyn Rees, obviously agreed with Councillor Atha’s assessment of the scale of the problem, as four days later the Yorkshire Evening Post reported that he was to write to the Home Secretary, Leon Brittan.
Mr Rees said “It is very worrying and obviously something needs to be done. This could be just the tip of the iceberg and I want the Home Secretary to investigate“.
So, what did Leon Brittan do about it?
There were no statements read by him in Parliament, and unless a government initiative to crack down on child abuse was launched in secret, it seems Mr. Brittan did nothing.
A news report from June 1985 said that “three new cases of paid sex involving under-age children were being investigated” – so the problem obviously hadn’t been solved. 120 girls had been questioned, but there’s nothing in the report about the ringleaders who were sexually exploiting children being arrested.
Perhaps Bernard Atha, who is still a Leeds councillor, can shed some light on this?
Yorkshire Evening Post, 14th February 1985
This was clearly a national problem, as the following year Geoffrey Dickens exposed a ‘child brothel’ involving up to 40 children that was being run on a North London council estate. This was swiftly covered up and Dickens was told he must apologise to the residents that he had insulted. More
In November 1983, Geoffrey Dickens gave the Home Secretary, Leon Brittan, a dossier on the Paedophile Information Exchange, who wanted the age of consent reduced to 4 years old, and allegations of child sexual abuse by Buckingham Palace staff. In January 1984, Dickens gave Brittan a second dossier detailing sexual abuse at a children’s home, and naming prominent paedophiles including a television executive. More
It appears that Brittan failed to act on the contents of both dossiers. Nothing was done to help the children who were being abused, and nothing was done to bring the abusers to justice. Tom Watson MP tabled a written PMQ to the current Home Secretary, Theresa May, on 25th February 2013, asking for the whereabouts of the dossiers. Nearly 5 months have passed and there’s still no reply from Theresa May… More