During a “Victims of Crime” debate in the House of Commons, Lucy Allen, MP for Telford, bravely spoke out about the victims of child sexual exploitation. Allen is asking for the second time for an independent investigation. In Allen’s constituency of Telford, one of the most egregious episodes of child grooming and abuse have been uncovered. In Telford alone, thousands of underage girls are thought to have been damaged over four decades; authorities and communities have systematically failed to punish and end this menace. Telford is just another city in the chain of this odious series of crimes of drugging, beating, raping and trafficking girls as young as 11 years. Rotherham, Rochdale, Blackburn, Birmingham, Blackpool, Sheffield, Ipswich, Derby, Aylesbury, Newcastle, Oldham and Oxford are all guilty of slow inadequate responses or inaction.

Allen praised Sarah Champion, MP, Rotherham for her work in spotlighting the deplorable events in Rotherham, where the Alexis Jay Report found that 1,400+ mostly girls were sexually exploited. Allen continued by explaining the grooming process of often white, vulnerable 13-14-year-old working class girls; of being lured into friendships “by a 35-year-old man who gives her affection and cigarettes, tops up her phone, and tells her that she is beautiful and that he loves her, sometimes she feels affection for him. She does not realise that when he asks her to share a sexual image of herself, that will lead to something worse—something that she will not want to do,” Allen said. And then the hideous coercion begins. The child does not know what follows is rape nor can she articulate it afterwards, she feels shame and through blackmail of exposure via videos/photographs and/or threats of violence, she is sucked into a devilish world of repetition.

But not all the girls targeted in these areas are white. A percentage of teenage Asian girls (Sikh, Hindu and Muslim from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan) are also sought after, precisely because they are even less likely to tell their parents or any authorities, for fear of bringing shame to their families and jeopardising chances for arranged marriages. Sometimes, the girls’ suffering continues with humiliation/violence from her family, surgery to repair the loss of virginity and being forced into an arranged marriage.

That is the first worst part. The second worst part is that the combined authorities responsible for children’s protection, the council, social workers, schools, and the police did not act and some actually covered up for fear of race and ethnicity reprisals, of being labelled racist. Imagine this degree of “political correctness” over the protection of children. This is where the state, the local media and all of the above plus their own communities have failed.

These crimes are different from the heinous paedophilia gangs; they are organised crime and terror by gangs who can operate between counties. Quilliam International, a counter extremism organisation based in UK, published a report into “Grooming Gangs” in December 2017 and discovered that an “alarming level of over-representation of (South) Asian men in group-based child sexual exploitation crimes”. In UK “South Asian” men are offended at being gathered into such an amorphous category. Quilliam continues, “The report found that 84% of ‘grooming gang’ offenders were (South) Asian, while they only make up 7% of total UK population and that the majority of these offenders are of Pakistani origin with Muslim heritage.”

Nobody wants to revisit the 1960s and 1970s era of “Paki bashing”, but sources claim in the case of the white girls the perpetrator’s rational could be cultural. Could these gangs be seeking revenge for British colonisation? Is this a form of trying to punish those who are thought to be non-believers? Could the third and fourth generations be seeking to be more observant in a skewed way than their immigrant grandparents?

This is not about racism or Islamophobia, it is about dialogue and accountability, but most of all it is about protecting innocent adolescents and young women from all ethnic backgrounds from sexual exploitation and having their lives devastated.

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