Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 2pm

"Pak community must crack down on sex abuse rings" - Justice Minister

Community leaders have a responsibility to prevent Pakistani men grooming and abusing young white girls, a senior government minister says.

Justice Minister Damian Green made the comment to The Daily Telegraph  days after a gang of seven men from Oxford, including five Pakistanis were convicted of abusing vulnerable young girls, some as young as 11.

The scandal is the fifth such case since 2010 of gangs of Pakistani men targeting young white girls and grooming them into prostitution after similar cases in Rochdale, Derby, Rotherham and Shropshire.

Mr Green told the Telegraph that it was time to "dismiss any vestiges of political correctness around the issue" and promised a special Home Office task force to help tackle the problem of sexual violence against children.

He also said it was up to Pakistani community leaders to make it clear to young men that violence of this nature was "100 percent unacceptable".

The exploitation by the Oxford gang lasted for five years, with some of the girls plied with drugs and prostituted for up to £600 per hour.

Since the Rochdale case however, there is concern that the repeated involvement of Pakistani men has been ignored by authorities who fear being accused of racism.

Mr Green told the newspaper: “It’s not sadly the first example we have had of organised serious exploitation and abuse involving Pakistani heritage men grooming and abusing white girls.

“I hope that what happens is that any last vestiges of political correctness that say, ‘there are some cultural issues to address here’ disappear, because this is criminality, pure and simple.

“It goes without saying that every world religion condemns the exploitation and abuse of children and just as there are huge challenges to the social care system and the police, there are clearly challenges for community leaders to make it absolutely clear that this is 100 per cent unacceptable in any circumstances.”

“I am encouraged that I have heard voices saying that over the last couple of days but I think that has got to be the starting point, that this must not be a cultural issue, this is just criminality and it applies to everyone.”



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