Thursday, 6 November 2014

British 'Torrent of Rapes' in international media

THIS week both Rochdale and Rotherham featured in the International New York Times.  This was not the first time as the sexual exploitation of youngsters has been getting internation coverage and these northern towns have come to the attention of major media outlets.

On Monday the International New York Times's journalist Katrin Bennhold wrote:
'The recent revelations that at least 1,400 teenage and preteenage girls had been sexually exploited over 16 years by so-called grooming gangs in another northern English city, Rotherham, stunned the nation because of the sheer scale of the abuse.  And it put an uncomfortable spotlight on issues of race, religion and ethnicity in an increasingly multicultural nation:  Nearly all of the rape suspects are Pakistani men, and nearly all the victims are white.'

It seems that the problem and the slow law-enforcement response is not limited to Rotherham and Rochdale.   In nearby Sheffield, a local official has accused the police of ignoring data she passed along over the past decade, including addresses where she said abuse was taking place and names of those suspected of abuse.  The police and prosecutors say they are now pursuing cases more aggressively across the country, including in Manchester, where about 180 suspects are under investigation.

Katrin Bennhold writes:
'In a country already fiercely debating issues of immigration and national identity, the cases have prompted anti-Muslim demonstrations by far-right groups and some soul-searching generally. Why do British-Pakistani men figure so prominently? Were they deliberately targeting white girls and staying away from their own community? Did police and local officials turn a blind eye for fear of being accused of racism, losing votes among immigrant groups or stoking the kinds of tensions that have unleashed periodic rioting in other British towns?' 
Simon Bailey from the Association of Chief Police Officers has warned of 'many more Rotherhams to come'.

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