A warning for us all: Victim of child sexual exploitation speaks out

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A child sexual exploitation victim who estimates that she was passed between 35 men in Aylesbury after being groomed online has warned others to look out for the signs of abuse.

The girl met Tahir Tetlay when he contacted her on social media site Bebo.

This was in 2004 when she was a young child.

She said she trusted him and she was flattered by the attention she received from the older man.

At that time the girl’s 
father was unwell, and her mother was working hard to support the family, but she says that she had a happy and stable childhood.

However, she said she endured manipulation and sexual abuse from Tetlay until she was 18.

He harassed and intimidated the young girl and passed her around his friends for sex.

This week Tetlay, 27, of no fixed abode, was sentenced for crimes of raping a female under the age of 13, arranging and facilitating sex with a child under the age of 16, and sexual activity with a child 
under the age of 16.

While serving time in prison for a separate offence Tetlay was attacked by an inmate leaving him with lifelong head injuries.

Because of this, he was deemed incapable of standing trial and was found guilty by a jury based on the facts of the case.

On Friday Judge Justin Cole sentenced him to a two year supervision order, because of his disabilities and inability to serve prison time.

Speaking after the sentencing, his victim said: “I had a mum and dad that were together, I wasn’t spoiled but I had a lot of things and I was bubbly and outgoing.

“You hear these stereotypes that these things only happen to kids from broken homes, but it’s not true. It could happen to anyone.

“I was a confident kid but it still happened to me.”

The victim, now in her twenties, who suffers from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of her experiences, added: “People say how could my mum and dad not have known.

“But if you have never experienced that kind of thing before you can’t pick up on it because you don’t know the signs.

“I want to raise awareness so that other families don’t suffer like we have.”

A second man, Tariq Douglas, 24, of High Wycombe, also pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual activity with a child and one count of arranging and facilitating sex with a child under the age of 16.

Earlier this year he was sentenced to community service, with the judge 
taking into account the fact that he was just 14 years old at the time of his crimes.

This case bears striking resemblance, but is not linked to, the jailing of six men for similar offences at The Old Bailey earlier this year.

Like that case, the men committed their crimes in the Aylesbury area, and abused local girls.

Throughout the hearings the girl in this case was supported by Rape Crisis.

She said: “They were there for me every step of the way, and came to court with me sitting alongside me.

“They made me feel like I had a friend, and I can’t fault them at all, they were fantastic.”

And looking to the future the woman is planning to work with young girls, to help them spot the signs, and protect themselves against exploitation.

She said: “I want to go into schools and speak to the girls, I want them to see a person that it has happened to, and to hear my story.

“Maybe that way some of them will be able to spot the signs, and some of them will realise that they are not alone.”

Carol Douch, service director for childrens social care at Bucks County Council, said: “Unfortunately, sexual exploitation is a manipulative and secretive crime that can happen anywhere and to anyone so the best thing you can do is to be aware of it and how you can get help. Spotting the signs can be hard as it can look like just normal teenage behaviour. So our advice to parents is to be aware of who your child is with and what they are doing both on and offline; keep talking to them and if you notice any change, no matter how small you think it might be, talk to them and if you are concerned get advice. Don’t be afraid to speak out if you are worried or have concerns.”

If you have concerns that a young person you know may be at risk find out more by visiting www.ruwise2it.co.uk

If you have been a victim of child sexual exploitation or any other sexual crime you can get help by visiting www.wycomberapecrisis.org.uk