In Britain, malaise is afoot. After news hit that a gang of Pakistani men sexually abused 1,400 girls in one northern town—the fifth such group of Pakistani or Muslim heritage to materialize in just four years—one question lingers: are grooming rings endemic within certain cultures?
These rings—groups of men who befriend and establish emotional connections with children as a precursor to sexual abuse and/or trafficking—aren’t only rife in the UK. In Australia, a group of Muslim youths were convicted of gang raping a series of teenagers. Two years later, in the same country, four Pakistani brothers and their Nepalese friend were found guilty of sexually abusing nearly 20 women. Three of those siblings were already in jail for rape by the time the trial came around. And in the US, 30 men from Somalia, a predominantly Muslim country, were tried for recruiting young girls across three states and trafficking them for sex.
This trope of the past decade is a troubling one, only exacerbated by the latest sex ring scandal in the English town of Rotherham. Though a number of staff within the local authority had been warned of the abuse that was taking place—largely against girls aged 12-15—they batted away the claims “for fear of being thought racist.”