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Jack Straw calls for 'more openness' on sex abuse issue
8:36am Saturday 8th January 2011 in Keep Them Safe campaign
BLACKBURN MP Jack Straw has accused some Pakistani men in Britain of seeing white girls as 'easy meat' for sexual abuse.
The Blackburn MP talked of a 'specific problem' involving Pakistani men and called on the community to be 'more open' about the issue.
He was speaking after two Asian men who subjected a series of vulnerable girls to rapes and sexual assaults were given indefinite jail terms.
Abid Mohammed Saddique, 27, was jailed for a minimum of 11 years at Nottingham Crown Court and Mohammed Romaan Liaqat, 28, was told he must serve at least eight years before being considered for release.
The men were the prime movers in a group of men who befriended girls aged from 12 to 18 in the Derby area and groomed them for sex.
In Blackburn, police and social services have been aware of similar problems for four years, running a Operation Engage to tackle the problem.
Back in 2006, the Lancashire Telegraph was the first paper to uncover the issue after the Keep Them Safe investigation and subsequent campaign.
But, despite the work, Mr Straw told the BBC's Newsnight programme: "Pakistanis, let's be clear, are not the only people who commit sexual offences, and overwhelmingly the sex offenders' wings of prisons are full of white sex offenders.
"But there is a specific problem which involves Pakistani heritage men... who target vulnerable young white girls.
"We need to get the Pakistani community to think much more clearly about why this is going on and to be more open about the problems that are leading to a number of Pakistani heritage men thinking it is OK to target white girls in this way."
The judge said he did not believe the crimes were 'racially aggravated', but Mr Straw said he thought vulnerable white girls were at risk of being targeted by some Asian men.
"These young men are in a western society, in any event, they act like any other young men, they're fizzing and popping with testosterone, they want some outlet for that, but Pakistani heritage girls are off-limits and they are expected to marry a Pakistani girl from Pakistan, typically," he said.
"So they then seek other avenues and they see these young women, white girls who are vulnerable, some of them in care... who they think are easy meat.
"And because they're vulnerable they ply them with gifts, they give them drugs, and then of course they're trapped."
Yesterday's sentencing came a day after Prime Minister David Cameron said 'cultural sensitivities' should not hinder police action in such cases.
Thirteen men were charged in relation to Operation Retriever, which Derbyshire Police set up, and 11 stood trial charged with offences relating to 26 alleged victims.
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