Nearly 19,000 children have been reportedly sexually “groomed” in the United Kingdom for exploitation, revealed the official figures raising alarm for an “epidemic”. There has been a worrying rise in the number of suspected victims of child sexual exploitation with more than 18,700 children facing it between 2018-19, which stood at 3,300 five years ago.
As per the data of the Department for Education, Lancashire has the highest number of victims, followed by Birmingham, Surrey, Bradford, and Gloucestershire. Labour MP from Rotherham Sarah Champion said that all the early intervention and support is being stripped away and then people are surprised that such crimes take place.
Speaking to a British daily, Champion said the government not only failed to tackle this issue, but the trend also showed a rise in the numbers. She added that even after the government’s regular assurance of learning ‘lessons’, 19,000 children are still at the risk of getting exploited.
MP @SarahChampionMP said it “remains one of the largest forms of child abuse in the country”— Lizzie Dearden (@lizziedearden) December 28, 2019
“The government has singularly failed to tackle this issue head on. Its approach has been piecemeal and underfunded.”
Last year, the then Home Secretary Sajid Javid had ordered an investigation to know the reason behind the disproportionate numbers of child grooming gangs from Pakistan. He said the investigation would explore the “particular characteristics” of offenders which will help prevent such cases.
In Rotherham, the revelations over abuse of around 1500 victims in 2012 caused a stir across the country which forced the National Crime Agency (NCA) to investigate the case and find suspects of the crime. In an unprecedented operation, the NCA started investigating under codename Stovewood and identified more than 420 suspects. According to media reports, the investigation could cost £90 million if the government continues its current funding until 2024.