When 20 men were convicted at the end of last week on charges of more than 120 child sex offences including rape, inciting child prostitution and abducting a child, the Home Secretary Sajid Javid tweeted:
“These sick Asian paedophiles are finally facing justice. I want to commend the bravery of the victims. For too long, they were ignored. Not on my watch. There will be no no-go areas.”
He was immediately accused of racism for mentioning the ethnicity of these criminals. In fact, virtually all its members had a very specific ethnic and religious identity as men of Pakistani Muslim origin (the ringleader was said to have converted to Sikhism five years ago).
No matter. The Labour MP David Lammy said: “It does no service to the victims of this evil to pin the blame on any one group.” But those who maintain that the ethnic and/or religious identity of these criminals is irrelevant couldn’t be more wrong.
For this was but the latest in a series of criminal trials of men involved not just in sex offences but in a particular, and particularly odious, pattern of criminal activity which has claimed several thousand victims over a period over the past two decades.