Home Secretary Sajid Javid went out of his way to shed light on the issue of Asian grooming gangs . Britain has seen a number of recent high-profile cases in which British Asian men were sentenced for the collective act of exploiting young British white girls . Mr Javid tweeted they were “sick Asian paedophiles” and later stated, “it is a statement of fact – a fact which both saddens and angers me – that most of the men in recent high-profile gang convictions have had Pakistani heritage. This behaviour is a disgrace to that heritage” .
In this overt focus of Asian groomers, the discussion has found its way to the mainstream. Tabloid newspapers have helped path a new angle of distrust whereby the Asian community find themselves answering for the actions of people who just happen to look like them.
Whilst this debate rears it ugly head each time a new case of grooming is unravelled, one must ask whether Asians are really to blame. Can these damning statistics against the Asian community be true? Or does this warrant a more elevated discussion in which the fundamental mechanisms of society need reassessment? What is clear is that the victims of these horrendous crimes have a long way to ever trusting again – society must find a way to ensure these crimes are stopped.
Asians Abusing Whites
To ascertain whether this is just an Asian problem, clarification must be sought over the term “Grooming Gangs”. Although newspapers and websites are splattered with the term, a public search of court databases for the most common convictions associated “grooming” show convictions of the following crimes:
- Common Assault / Assault by beating
- Causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity
- Trafficking in persons for the purposes of prostitution
- Trafficking within the UK for sexual exploitation
- Rape / Attempted rape
- Sexual Activity with a child
- Meeting a child following sexual grooming or travelling with the intention of meeting a child following sexual grooming
- Causing or inciting sexual exploitation of a child (child prostitution or pornography)
- Controlling a child prostitute or a child involved in pornography
The list above stipulates the legal terms associated with these crimes . While it is important to avoid pedantic technicalities, the list firstly highlights the variation in crimes committed. Secondly, despite committing atrocities such as rape, common assault and human trafficking, the focus has commonly landed on just “grooming”. The attachment of this term to a subset of Asian criminals has yielded the mainstream definition of “Grooming Gangs” that is prevalent today.
Whether it is assault, rape, trafficking, or the many other realities in which children are being sexually abused, the subject at hand is child sexual exploitation – it is seen in headlines with depressing regularity.
The question now arises whether the statistics are reliable. Can 84% of all child groomers really be from one ethnic minority? Various studies show different findings but a common profile of a typical child exploiter would be a male with an age range between 12 to 75 years .
It is true that there is an overrepresentation of Asian child exploiters compared to the proportion of the UK Asian population. It is also true there is a high representation of Muslims in the prison population. This fact does not mean that all Muslims are criminals. Nor does it mean that all Asians are child groomers.
Furthermore, just with any investigative report, data can be cut and skewed in ways that outline an unfair picture. The infamous Quilliam report and its headline 84% figure is one example of such tenuous calculations. Among many irregularities within the report, the authors of the report:
- fail to disclose the cases they reviewed;
- incorrectly reference other studies’ findings, and
- seemingly fabricate certain observations .
Although it may seem straightforward to outlay an objective analysis of publicly available data, the reports and their institutions are prone to the subjective biases. It is little wonder then that the current state of play is one of distrust against the Asian community.
Nevertheless, the scale of similar attacks by white criminals is oft forgotten or misrepresented in such investigations. In one rebuttal of the Quilliam report, for example, the authors managed to identify 126 white British offenders who were convicted of what would be defined by Quilliam as ‘grooming gang’- related offences. Yet Rafiq and Adil only managed to identify 18 .
Furthermore, the Children’s Commissioner’s finding found, where ethnic group was recorded, that the majority of perpetrators were white; the second largest group were Asian .
There is one factor that all authors seem to agree upon: Asians tend to operate in large groups with somewhat complex networks; whites tend to operate alone or in much smaller groups.
Most findings also indicate that the perpetrators (Asians and non-Asians) were opportunists rather than premeditators. These men simply wanted sex and preyed on vulnerable young girls. Despite having numerous avenues to fulfil their desires, including the established pornography and prostitution industries, the criminals still went after these innocent young people. Their actions shed light on a more profound issue.
While it is easy to brush the discussion under the carpet and blame Asians, the statistics uncover a much greater flaw. The mechanisms of society need assessing to answer why people take advantage of young girls.
The Western way of life is built on the separation of God from man’s affairs. Doctrinal ritualistic beliefs are left to the liberty of the individual, but man rules over himself without God’s input.
Building society around this idea means man is forced to suppress a fundamental instinct: his reverence instinct. To maintain equilibrium, the remaining two fundamental instincts (survival and procreational) are forced into overdrive. As a result, the pursuance of the material wealth and satisfaction of desires become the dominant drive living under these systems.
New experiences need to be pursued to satisfy these primal desires. It may start of through “orthodox” means such as visiting a sex worker or watching a video online. But the constant probe to fulfil these desires mean man seeks new adventures and vulnerable young girls are just the next group in this conveyer belt of exploitation.
As Mr Javid admitted, “advertising by well-known brands is fuelling the sexual exploitation of children online” . However, rather than tackle the root of the issue, Mr Javid intends to take the oft repeated “extra funding” route and chair a new task force, “bringing representatives from ad agencies, trade bodies and brands to discuss steps to stop criminals” .
It is thus little wonder that society has become plagued with sexuality and promiscuity. Billboards, television screens and social media are plastered with illicit pictures that render cautious viewing. Corporations capitalise on this by pushing people to consume morally depraved content at an unprecedented rate.
In order to preserve this way of life, it becomes necessary to afford man the freedom to fulfil these desires – else anarchy will prevail. Amongst others, the most prominent feature that stems from this system is the unlimited pursuance of material wealth. Coupled with this is the need to fulfil sexual desires. The system, therefore, creates a rat race in which every man is left fighting for himself.
In this arena of benefit-pursuance through individualistic means, only a few born with the correct upbringing and networks are equipped to succeed – many are set up to fail. The “many” find themselves reliant on the state to provide.
With limited budgets and overwhelming pressure on the welfare state, many individuals fall through the cracks of this system. It is those who fall through the cracks that are most vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. Research by the NSPCC indicates that some of the risk factors for potential exploitation victims include:
- being or living in care, and
- living in gang-affected neighbourhoods.
Most researchers agree that most victims are white, but warn that access to similar data for ethnic minority victims are harder to find due to barriers to reporting and accessing services. Nevertheless, findings also allude to the fact that the higher levels of freedom afforded to white children make them more vulnerable to sexual exploitation .
It becomes apparent that the issue of child exploitation is not exclusive to Asian men. Men of all colour are guilty of these heinous crimes. The common factor among them all is the system that triggers and facilitates all of this. It permits people to undertake actions to satisfy their desires in ways only these criminals can understand.
Globally, the Western way of life dominates the human sphere. It has reached far and wide. Its allure of economic progress and supposed civil liberties has left nations smitten to adopt its culture and practices. Yet the same issues prevail across the world and unfortunately the symptom is the same. In India, society has been plagued by a gang rape culture that often leads to the death of victims. With Bollywood following the example of its Western counterpart, society is again exposed to scenes that probe man’s desires whilst cultural norms dictate that genders keep away at arm’s length. With this constant tug of war between desires and traditions, a cesspit of emotionally crazed men prey on young women.
In answering whether Asians are to blame for the endemic of child grooming, it becomes apparent that the issue delves deeper than most wish to acknowledge. Politicians and institutions alike can easily pluck out porous statistics to support their agenda. Yet reports and rebuttals show us the wide-ranging nature of child exploitation – Asians and non-Asians are involved in such atrocities. Many are left unclear on how to fix the problem.
Ultimately, exploitation is prevalent, in some form, across the globally dominated Western system and the association of blame to one set of people is just a way of masking a systemic issue. The Western way of life fails to harmonise man with the purpose of his existence. He constantly tugs between what he desires and what has arbitrarily been set as right and wrong. With no conscious application of God’s charter, man will always find himself scratching his head as to why society is constantly circling this and many other issues.
وَمَا كَانَ لِمُؤْمِنٍ وَلَا مُؤْمِنَةٍ إِذَا قَضَى اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَمْرًا أَن يَكُونَ لَهُمُ الْخِيَرَةُ مِنْ أَمْرِهِمْ ۗ وَمَن يَعْصِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ ضَلَالًا مُّبِينًا
“When Allah and His Messenger have decided something, no believing man or woman has a choice about [following or not following] it. Anyone who disobeys Allah and His Messenger is clearly misguided” [Al-Ahzab: 36].
 Rafiq & Adil (2017) “Group Based Child Sexual Exploitation – Dissecting Grooming Gangs”
 Berelowitz, S. et al (2012) “I thought I was the only one. The only one in the world.”
 Berelowitz, S. et al (2012) “I thought I was the only one. The only one in the world.”
 “Threat Assessment of Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse”, Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, June 2013