A century or so later, in 2003, a journalist for the Times called Andrew Norfolk became aware of strange and disturbing rumours from Yorkshire. Originally reported by Labour MP Anne Cryer, they involved groups of mostly Pakistani men loitering around schools in Rotherham and sexually abusing girls, some as young as 13. There were supposedly whole gangs of men involved and the number of victims stood in the hundreds. Norfolk found it implausible; it sounded like a far-Right conspiracy.
Yet, as the Times journalist soon began to realise, this story was true. In fact, it was much bigger than anyone could really conceive, and it wasn’t just Rotherham, either; similar things were happening across the north of England and beyond. There were thousands of girls involved.
This was far more horrifying than the scandal Stead uncovered, yet no Parliamentary law resulted from the revelation. The story was extensively covered by Norfolk, and it inspired a drama and a couple of books by those involved. Yet no great national soul searching had followed — and that is why it is most likely still going on.
Read more: Where is the moral outrage about Britain’s grooming gangs?