A model of Pakistani-heritage men targeting young white girls for sexual exploitation does exist and authorities must be able to freely raise concerns without fear of being labelled racist, an influential group of MPs has concluded.
Police, social workers and others must acknowledge this issue, which featured in recent high-profile grooming cases in Rochdale and Oxford, the Home Affairs Select Committee said.
However, the Committee added that there was no simple link between race and child sexual exploitation and warned against stereotyping offenders.
After its inquiry into localised grooming, that is when a group of abusers target vulnerable children, the Committee said it believes there are still places in the UK where victims are being failed by statutory agencies.
Committee chair Keith Vaz said: "This has been a harrowing inquiry in which we have heard of children being treated in an appalling way not just by their abusers but, because of catastrophic failures by the very agencies that society has appointed to protect them."
Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk insists that grooming is a wider problem and is pleased to see the police acting. He said:
My message for anyone thinking of getting involved in this kind of activity is that you do so at your peril because the full force of the law will come down very hard on you.We've seen inspiring bravery shown by victims in the recent trial.
I hope the heavy sentences imposed will encourage other victims to speak out because this crime is being taken very seriously and we need to send out the clearest message that this behaviour will not be tolerated in Rochdale or anywhere else