THE conviction on Tuesday of
seven men who groomed and sexually abused young girls in Oxford
begs "huge questions about a society that claims to be civilised",
the Bishop of Bradford, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, has said.
Of the nine men who were
tried for rape, arranging child prostitution, and trafficking
between 2004 and 2012, at the Old Bailey on Tuesday, two were
acquitted of all charges.
Writing on his blog on
Wednesday, Bishop Baines said that the "stories of intentional,
cruel, exploitative grooming of young girls by gangs of men . . .
beg huge questions about a society that claims to be civilised
whilst allowing such behaviour to continue for so long. . ."
"Child sexual exploitation
powerfully dehumanises both victims and perpetrators; the victims
need to be defended and liberated, the perpetrators need to be held
accountable and be reminded that moral accountability - integral to
human being -demands justice. People are not commodities."
The Community Alliance
Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE) - whose members include the
Church of England, the Muslim Council of Britain, and Hope Not
Hate, an anti-fascist group - said on Tuesday that it was launching
"a ground-breaking, cross-community response to the problem of
'on-street grooming by gangs'".
CAASE said in a statement
said that it believed "that local and national grassroots and faith
organisations are often best-placed to reach out into the
communities most beset by this problem".
The chief executive of Hope
Not Hate, Nick Lowles, said: "The evil that is abuse happens across
all areas of society. This is not an issue of race or religion. . .
We need to ensure that the media and far-right groups do not
promote an anti-Muslim agenda over so-called 'grooming'