UK: Race, religion trumping child sex abuse?
Sex ring mugshots. (NORTHUMBRIA POLICE)
The girls were young.
Some just 15.
For four years, a group of men plied as many as 268 young women and girls with booze and drugs, then sexually abused them.
Seventeen men and one woman were convicted in Newcastle Crown Court in the north of England for rape, supplying drugs and inciting prostitution.
But the U.K. is wrestling with a difficult question after a series of similar outrages have hit other communities: Did cops and social workers ignore the girls’ plight because of political correctness?
“The causes of the abuse weren’t being tackled because people are more afraid to be called a racist than they are afraid to be wrong about calling out child abuse,” Labour MP Sarah Champion said.
Britain’s former chief prosecutor Ken Macdonald said blame lies with the communities that bred the perpetrators.
“It is a disease of racism and sexism that will not abate until it is confronted culturally in homes, schools and places of worship as a question of dignity, respect and equal rights,” he said.
In almost every case, the sex fiends are from South Asian Muslim backgrounds and their victims impoverished white girls.
Former prosecutor Nazir Azfal — who brought the Rochdale sex abuse gang to trial — says Pakistani men are disproportionately involved in the sort of “street grooming” seen in Newcastle.
Sexist attitudes and “cultural baggage” are to blame.
“These young girls are invariably looking for warmth, for transport, for food, for mind-numbing substances,” he said. “The predators are hiding among the takeaway workers and taxi drivers.”
Meanwhile, more details are emerging about the lone female in the grooming gang.
Carolann Gallon acted as the recruiter who procured the young girls to be drugged and gang-raped by the older men. The U.K. Sun reports that Gallon joined the pedo gang at just 17.
A lesbian, she would befriend the girls and lure them to sex parties. The 22-year-old confessed to three counts of procuring children for exploitation.
But Gallon is not being targeted by an outraged British press and Parliament.
Champion told the BBC: “We’ve got now hundreds of men, Pakistani men, who have been convicted of this crime — why are we not commissioning research to see what’s going on and how we need to change what’s going on so it never happens again?”
She added: “The far right will attack me for not doing enough, the floppy left will have a go at me for being a racist. But this isn’t racist, this is child protection and we need to be grown-up about this and deal with it.”
— With files from Associated Press