London: In a massive crackdown launched across Britain amid reports about Pakistani-origin men preying on white girls, police have busted another gang of nine men, including eight Asians, for forcing a dozen teenaged girls to become sex slaves.
The police have arrested the men aged between 20-40 after 14 underage white girls claimed to have been targeted for sex. The girls said they had been plied with drink and drugs then taken to flats and houses for sex.
The victims - some of them as young as 13 - say they were forced to work as prostitutes and hand over money to the men, the Daily Mail reported.
The latest arrests in Rochdale, Greater Manchester took place shortly before Christmas and are the result of a major inquiry into the sexual exploitation of teenage girls since 2008.
They come just days after a nationwide investigation was launched following a string of cases involving men of Pakistani heritage grooming mainly white girls.
Last week Abid Saddique, 27, and Mohammed Liaqat, 28, were jailed for 19 years for targeting underage girls.
The two sexual predators - both British-born fathers of Pakistani origin who had arranged marriages in that country - cruised the streets of Derby in either a Range Rover or a BMW looking for vulnerable young girls to prey on.
The girls were "chatted up" by the men at the roadside and invited to go for drives in the car - one of which was dubbed the "Rape Rover" - where they were plied with vodka or cocaine before being taken to hotel rooms, parks or houses to be sexually abused.
The case prompted controversy after former Home Secretary Jack Straw described some of the white girl victims as "easy meat" for gangs who trawl the streets looking for sex.
Research shows there have been 17 sex gang prosecutions since 1997 - 14 in the last three years - involving girls aged 11-16.
Meanwhile, retired police chief Mick Gradwell claimed that the pressure not to appear "institutionally racist" led to a culture of silence over Asian sex gangs.
Gradwell, a former detective superintendent in Lancashire, said: "You have girls being abused and raped and yet the most senior officers are refusing to comment on it. On what other subject would you get that?
"I worked on operations which had been set up to tackle, amongst other things, an element of Asian men who saw white girls as easy meat, as Jack Straw rightly put it. It was a persistent issue."
He said: "Some white girls are attracted to groups of Asian men because some are quite wealthy, shower them with gifts and drive round in fancy cars."
"The main pressure police have is being called institutionally racist if they highlight a crime trend like this. There`s a fantastic reluctance to be absolutely straight because some people may take such offence.
"Rather than concentrating to solve and prevent it the bigger issue becomes `Can we point out a crime trend in an ethnic minority?`