Grooming Gang Epidemic: Nearly 19,000 Children Sexually Exploited in the UK Last Year

ROTHERHAM, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 03: (EDITORS NOTE: This image was processed using digital filters.) A teenage girl, who claims to be a victim of sexual abuse and alleged grooming, poses in Rotherham on September 3, 2014 in Rotherham, England. South Yorkshire Police have launched an independent investigation into its handling …
Christopher Furlong/Getty

The scourge of sexual exploitation of children has reached “epidemic” levels in the United Kingdom, as nearly 19,000 children were sexually groomed over the past year.

Local authorities have reported over 18,700 suspected victims of child sexual exploitation at the hands of grooming gangs between 2018-19, more than five times higher than the 3,300 reported cases just five years ago.

Sammy Woodhouse, a victim of the Rotherham rapist Arshid Hussain, said that the authorities have not implemented meaningful changes in combatting the crisis.

“You hear this bullshit line, ‘lessons have been learned’, but they haven’t learned anything”, she told The Independent.

“I still hear a lot about the authorities aren’t doing things as they should. It’s not very often I hear something good and for all different reasons – if the police won’t act on reports, people feel they’re not being listened to or supported properly, or information not being shared”, she added.

“I’ve said for years that this country’s in epidemic when it comes to abuse and exploitation. Authorities claim it’s under control but it’s not”, Woodhouse concluded.

Lancashire was the locality hit the hardest last year, with a total of 624 suspected victims, followed by Birmingham with 490, 447 in Surrey, 414 in Bradford and 409 in Gloucestershire. Thousands of more cases of abuse have been discovered across the country over the past decade, especially as the scandals of predominantly Pakistani male child rape gangs have been exposed.

The Labour MP for Rotherham, Sarah Champion, said that the figures demonstrate that grooming “remains one of the largest forms of child abuse in the country”.

“The government has singularly failed to tackle this issue head-on. Its approach has been piecemeal and underfunded”, she said.

The Home Office has allocated 7 million pounds to support survivors of child sex abuse for 2019-20 and has set up investigations into the institutional responses to the scandals in Rotherham and Norfolk, with a series of public hearings expected in the spring of 2020.

“The Home Office is committed to tackling child sexual abuse and will leave no stone unturned in tackling this abhorrent behaviour”, a spokesperson said.

“This is why we launched the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse to get to the truth, expose what has gone wrong and learn lessons for the future. The inquiry operates independently of government and, within its terms of reference, decides for itself what it investigates”, the spokesperson added.

Earlier this month Breitbart London reported that 16 men of South Asian descent, including a police officer, were charged in connection to grooming crimes allegedly committed against three teenage girls in Halifax, England.

The following day an additional four men of South Asian-origin were convicted of sexually exploiting children during the early 2000s in Telford, England.

In 2018, then Home Secretary, Sajid Javid launched an inquiry into the ethnic origins of members of grooming gangs in the UK. Speaking to the BBC in December, Javid determined that the majority of perpetrators were of Pakistani origin.

“When it comes to gang-based child exploitation it is self-evident to anyone who cares to look that if you look at all the recent high-profile cases there is a high proportion of men that have Pakistani heritage”, Javid said.

“There could be – I’m not saying that there are – there could be some cultural reasons from the communities that these men came from that could lead to this kind of behaviour”, he added.

Follow Kurt on Twitter at @KurtZindulka

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