Britain’s Grooming Gang Crisis


The scale of the street grooming crisis in the UK almost defies belief. Hundreds of girls and young women were raped in the city of Rotherham, and hundreds by similar exploitation rings in Rochdale, Peterborough, Newcastle, Oxford, and Bristol. Now, up to a thousand girls are thought to have been drugged, raped, and beaten in Telford between the 1980s and the 2010s.

This is, of course, a highly emotive subject. How could it not be? Yet if the phenomenon is to be understood it is important to evaluate the data objectively. Otherwise we have a lot of heat and little light.

Responses to the crisis are contentious because most of the perpetrators are British Asians; specifically British Pakistanis and Bangladeshis. Child abuse is not uniquely or largely a problem of particular demographics but grooming gangs - that is, multiple offenders exploiting women they have met, manipulated, and abused outside their homes - are 84 percent Asian, and this does not mean Chinese, Korean, Japanese, or Indonesian (other perpetrators have been Somali, Romani, Kosovan, Kurdish, and white British.)

To some extent, this fact has been influenced by the disproportionate amount of British Pakistanis and Bangladeshis who make their living in the night-time economy, driving taxi cabs and working in restaurants, which gave the perpetrators access to girls, and hours away from home. This is not the sole factor, though, as other nations with significant night-time economies do not have comparable street grooming crises.

Some have pointed the finger at Islam. I support the criticism of Islamic texts where appropriate but think this factor can be over-egged. Quite apart from being abusively adulterous, these criminals drank, did drugs, and made their victims have abortions. These were not, in other words, devout Muslim men. Yet Taj Hargey of the Oxford Islamic Congregation has observed that "the view of some Islamic preachers towards white women" and "an attitude where women are seen as nothing more than personal property" might have been contributing factors in the stew of thought processes that characterised these men, along with provincial machismo, clannish contempt, and degenerate sexual appetites.