Some ethnic communities slow to raise alarm on child abuse, says MP

Wed, Jul 4, 2012, 01:00

SOME ETHNIC communities in Britain, notably Pakistanis and Congolese, are slow to raise the alarm about the sexual exploitation of young white girls, a British home office minister has warned.

The declaration came in the wake of a series of successful prosecutions against groups of mostly Pakistani men who had groomed vulnerable white girls for sex.

The majority of men jailed for sexual abuse are white, children’s minister Tim Loughton emphasised, though they mostly found their victims on the internet.

The grooming rings led by Pakistani men, meanwhile, tended to operate from taxi companies and fast-food shops in northern English towns.

Questioned by MPs, Mr Loughton urged police and social services to use all the “right tools to nail these perpetrators, regardless of their culture or ethnicity”.

Urging Pakistanis and Congolese, in particular, to report suspicions to police, Mr Loughton said it was “not in their interests” that members of their own communities were committing abuses.

He announced reforms to protect children in residential care homes from sexual exploitation and to overhaul the wider system.

Care homes that deal with vulnerable teenagers, often charging up to £300,000 a year, are to be subjected to more official surveillance. Many of the homes, built following an infusion of capital from mostly foreign investors in recent years, are situated in northern English towns because it was cheaper to build them there.

Rochdale, for example, has more care homes than all of the London boroughs combined, and some girls sent to homes there have fallen prey to abusers.

In May, the Lancashire town saw the conviction of nine local men – eight Pakistani and one Afghani – for grooming girls whom they dubbed “white trash”, before they were then “passed around” for sex.

In Bury, local men deliberately targeted a care home housing such youngsters, plying girls with drugs and alcohol and offering “affection and somewhere to stay”, according to official records.

Children’s commissioner Sue Berelowitz warned yesterday that girls sent to the homes for their own protection ended up disproportionately at risk there from sex-groomers.

Under the new rules, tougher checks are to be carried out before local authorities can send children long distances from their homes, currently a frequent occurrence.

Existing rules that, bizarrely, prevent Ofsted, the education regulator, from informing the police and some official services of the locations of the homes, are to be dropped.