Sex abuse claim against Pakistanis sparks UK race row

The National - Middle East - 09 January 2011 - From David Sapsted

LONDON // Jack Straw, the justice secretary in the last government, sparked controversy yesterday when he accused young men of Pakistani origin in Britain as regarding vulnerable white girls as "easy meat" for sexual abuse.

The Blackburn MP and one of the Labour Party's most prominent figures challenged the Pakistani community in the United Kingdom to tackle a problem that has resulted in "Pakistani heritage men thinking it is OK to target white girls in this way".

Mr Straw made his remarks after two Asian men were jailed indefinitely in Nottingham on Friday for a series of rapes and sexual attacks on vulnerable girls they had picked up on the streets.

An investigation by The Times published last week has exposed what it describes as "a culture of silence that has facilitated the sexual exploitation of hundreds of young British girls" by mainly Pakistani gangs in cities in northern and central England.

"For more than a decade, child-protection experts have identified a repeated pattern of sex offending in towns and cities across northern England and the Midlands involving groups of older men who groom and abuse vulnerable girls aged 11 to 16 after befriending them on the street," the newspaper said.

"Most of the victims are white and most of the convicted offenders are of Pakistani heritage," the report said. (...)

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